Type 2 diabetes, sometimes called “adult onset” diabetes is the most common form of this disease.
A diagnosis can seem scary, however there are a number of naturopathic treatments which can help manage it.
In this 2-part series, we will first examine what type 2 diabetes is, how it is caused, and the risk factors and complications that may result from it.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition which affects the way the body metabolizes sugar.
Insulin is a hormone that promotes the uptake of sugar, in the form of glucose,into your cells. Intype 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels, or cells resist the effects of insulin.
Although typically more common in adults, type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly prevalent in children as rates of childhood obesity rise.
Causes Of Type 2 Diabetes
The exact cause is unknown, however it seems to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
The onset of symptoms for type 2 diabetes can be very slow.
Without testing, it is possible to have type 2 diabetes for years without realizing it.
Symptoms may include the following:
● Increased hunger, as cells don’t receive glucose to turn into energy.
● Increased thirst, due to glucose in your bloodstream pulling fluid from tissues, and as a result, dehydration.
● Frequent urination.
● Fatigue due to cells being deprived of glucose.
● Vision problems, including inability to focus and blurred vision.
● Frequent infections.
● Patches of darkened skin.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and cannot explain them, it might be time to see your doctor or healthcare professional.
Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
There are a number of factors which can add to increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Here are some of the risk factors to be aware of – if you fall into any of these categories, prevention is key. Also, be sure to maintain awareness of the symptoms and be vigilant for changes which may indicate you are developing the disease.
● Weight. The primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese, as the increase of fatty tissue can cause insulin resistance.
● Fat distribution. In addition to being overweight, those people who tend to store fat in their abdomen are at greater risk.
● Lack of physical activity. Individuals who are inactive are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes. Activity helps increase sensitivity to insulin.
● Heredity. Those with a family history of type 2 diabetes are at greater risk.
● Age. Typically type 2 diabetes has been more present in those over the age of 45; however, it is becoming more common among younger generations.
● Polycystic ovarian syndrome. This condition, which is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, and obesity,can increase the risk of diabetes.
● Gestational diabetes. A person who has developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy, or who gives birth to a baby who weighs more than 9 pounds is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
● Ethnicity. Individuals who are African-American, Native American, Hispanic or Latinx, and Asian experience higher rates of type 2 diabetes.
Complications From Type 2 Diabetes
Because type 2 diabetes generally has a slow onset, it can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages; however, its effects can be disabling, and potentially life threatening.
Complications from type 2 diabetes can include:
● Heart disease and increase risk of cardiovascular problems.
● Nerve damage, due to damage to blood vessel caused by excess glucose.
● Kidney damage
● Eye damage, including damage to the retina and blood vessels, potentially leading to blindness.
● Foot damage caused by nerve damage and poor blood flow.
Call The Mindful Healing Clinic
Are you worried you’re exhibiting signs of type 2 diabetes?
Do you have some of the risk factors listed above, combined with some of the symptoms listed?
Contact the Mindful Healing clinic today, and we will work with you to create a treatment plan which fits your life and your unique needs.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.