Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM)

What is Type 2 Diabetes?    Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic metabolic disease that affects the body’s ability to turn food into energy. Normally, after eating, sugar in the form of glucose from the food enters the bloodstream. The hormone Insulin, released from the pancreas in response to the rising levels of glucose in the bloodstream, is responsible for transporting the glucose into the body’s cells, to be used as fuel. Other hormones produced by the gastric system such as GLP-1 also play a part in controlling glucose metabolic processes.

In Type 2 Diabetes, the body does not respond well to insulin. As a result, the cells cannot absorb the glucose properly and it remains and builds up in the bloodstream and damages the inner lining of the small blood vessels. Uncontrolled diabetes may lead to blindness, limb amputation, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Diabetes is also a prominent factor in accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to stroke, heart disease, and other small blood vessel disorders.

The following diagram describes the damaged metabolic process in Type 2 Diabetes:

How common is it? With diabetes prevalence rates doubling between 1990 and 1995, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just declared that we are facing a diabetes epidemic. The diabetes epidemic has struck worldwide. More than 285 million people across the world suffer from diabetes, 90% of whom have Type 2 Diabetes. It is estimated that by the year 2030 438 million people will be inflicted with diabetes worldwide, profoundly increasing the need for treatment for type 2 diabetes. In the United States, CDC projects that by 2050 one in three individuals will be diagnosed with diabetes. In Europe, there are 55 million diabetics, and by 2030 this number is expected to grow to 66 million. Russia and Germany lead in European diabetes prevalence with 9.6 million and 7.5 million diabetics respectively.

Diabetes is also becoming a major health concern in Asia with over 90 million diabetics in China and 50 million in India.

What Causes Diabetes? A number of lifestyle factors are known to contribute to the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Excess weight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more, leading an inactive lifestyle, having abnormal cholesterol and blood lipids, high blood-pressure and smoking are all factors that increase the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

What are the initial symptoms? About one out of three people with Type 2 Diabetes don’t know they have it and therefore are not even receiving treatment. One of the first symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes may be an increase in thirst. This is often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as dry mouth, increased appetite, frequent urination, and unusual weight loss or gain. Additional symptoms may include headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, and troubling infections such as cuts and sores that are slow to heal or frequent yeast infections.