What is type 2 diabetes?

By far the most common type of diabetes, this accounts for more than 90% of the disease. It most frequently occurs in mid-life, though it’s rapidly increasing among people of all ages. And because it doesn’t start with obvious symptoms, it’s estimated that only around 30% of people with type 2 diabetes actually know that they have it…

Type 2 diabetes occurs because there’s either not enough insulin produced by an organ called the pancreas, or because your body has become less sensitive to the insulin that is produced.

For a specialist Consultant appointment (no Doctor’s referral required) or to get a second opinion Call +44 (0)800 0483 330 Email info@londonmedical.co.uk

The disease runs in families. If either of your parents has type 2 diabetes, there is a 10–15% chance that you’ll get it.

A disease that’s set to become an epidemic

Age is also a factor. It’s a mature onset disease; but, with a major increase in childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes is being seen in children more and more. And generally, obesity and inactivity are currently on the rise, which leads experts to describe the current surge in the disease as an epidemic. The numbers of people affected worldwide could double by 2025.

For a GP appointment (no Doctor’s referral required) or to get a second opinion Call +44 (0)800 0483 330 Email info@londonmedical.co.uk

Difficult to diagnose, tricky to treat

Type 2 diabetes is such a tricky condition because its onset is gradual, starting imperceptibly, initially with normal glucose tolerance but higher than normal serum insulin levels. Later, but still silently, minor glucose intolerance comes to the fore, characterised in its earliest stages with insulin resistance in patients often of middle age.

This insulin resistant state is now also known to be associated with high blood pressure, as well as hypertriglyceridaemia and low high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels – both risk factors for coronary heart disease.

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All of these abnormalities increase the risk of coronary heart disease, but diabetes only develops when the pancreas starts to struggle against this insulin resistance.

Increasing insulin sensitivity

The mechanism behind this early insulin resistance is believed to be the excess fat in muscle, pancreas and liver. So treatment is initially directed at increasing insulin sensitivity by weight loss and exercise where appropriate, and by the use of drugs that increase insulin sensitivity.

After a period of 10 years or more, rates of insulin production slowly decrease and treatment with insulin may become necessary.

Because, it doesn’t start with obvious symptoms, it’s estimated that only 30% of patients with type 2 diabetes know they have it. Other metabolic abnormalities that contribute to the increased risk of heart attacks in patients with diabetes are commonly associated with this type of diabetes.

The mechanism behind this early insulin resistance is believed to be the excess fat in muscle, pancreas and liver. Treatment is initially directed at increasing insulin sensitivity by weight loss and exercise where appropriate, and by the use of drugs that increase insulin sensitivity.

After a period of 10 years or more, insulin production rates slowly decrease and treatment with insulin may become necessary.  Type 2 diabetes runs in families. If either of your parents have type 2 diabetes there is a 10–15% chance that you’ll get it. Age is also a factor. It’s a mature onset disease, however the prevalence in younger people is increasing because childhood obesity is becoming increasingly common.

For a specialist Consultant appointment (no Doctor’s referral required) or to get a second opinion Call +44 (0)800 0483 330 Email info@londonmedical.co.uk

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