Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects the pancreas and its insulin production and also the body’s cells sensitivity to insulin. It is different to type 1 diabetes in that it is not an autoimmune disease where the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed, but due to the cells not responding to the insulin anymore. This is known as insulin resistance. This causes the pancreas to produce more and more insulin in an attempt to get the cells to understand the message from insulin for them to take the sugar out of the blood.
Type 2 diabetes is often also called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes as it tends to be diagnosed later in life in those over 40 years of age, although increasingly younger people are also being affected. It is more common in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
If you suffer from any of these problems it is worth talking to your GP about diabetes:
- feeling very thirsty
- frequently urination
- fatigue and lethargy
- weight loss or weight gain / being overweight
The cause of type 2 diabetes is believed to be lifestyle, particularly a poor diet high in processed and sugary foods, but also through excess alcohol, smoking or lack of exercise. It is believed that type 2 diabetes is irreversible, however there is some promising research that a particular diet can reverse the disease if caught early enough.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes you may be prescribed certain medicine such as Metformin or Gliclazide by your GP and you will probably be referred to a diabetes care team for specialist treatment.
If you fail to manage your properly it can cause many health problems such as damage to your blood vessels, nerves and organs. This can have serious ramifications with some people having vision and kidney problems or even worse requiring amputation of limbs.
Nutritional management of type 2 diabetes
It is important to work on your diet if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. London nutritionist Steve Hines can help you with a low glycemic load diet that can reduce the amount of glucose you consume. There is also some new research suggesting a low calorie diet using 800 calories a day in liquid meal format for 8-12 weeks can reverse the condition. More research is needed to support these initial finding but this does hold promise for the future management of people with type 2 diabetes.