What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Reviewed on 10/19/2021

Type 2 diabetes causes and risk factors include genetics, being obese/overweight, sedentary lifestyle, other health conditions, viruses, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol or high triglycerides, age, depression, giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more, gestational diabetes, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Type 2 diabetes causes and risk factors include genetics, being obese/overweight, sedentary lifestyle, other health conditions, viruses, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol or high triglycerides, age, depression, giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more, gestational diabetes, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps convert glucose from the foods you eat into energy your body uses. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not the same as type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes), a condition in which little to no insulin is produced by the pancreas.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by multiple factors, such as: 

  • Genetics
    • Family history
    • Occurs more often in certain ethnic groups: African Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, or Pacific Islanders
  • Lifestyle factors 
    • Overweight or obesity
    • Sedentary lifestyle
      • Physically inactive less than 150 minutes per week
  • Other health conditions
  • Environmental factors

Factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:

What Are Symptoms of Diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger, despite eating
  • Increased thirst 
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Wounds that do not heal
  • Frequent infections
  • Darkened skin, often in the armpits and neck
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet or hands (more common in type 2)
  • Unexplained weight loss (more common in type 1)

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed with the following tests: 

  • A1C test 
  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test 
  • Glucose challenge test
  • Random plasma glucose (RPG) test 
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

What Is the Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

The first line treatment for type 2 diabetes usually involves lifestyle changes. 

Lifestyle changes to manage diabetes include:

  • Manage A1C (average blood glucose level over the past 3 months)
  • Check blood glucose levels daily
  • Keep blood pressure in check
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Don’t smoke
  • Follow a diabetes meal plan as recommended by your doctor or nutritionist
    • Eat a plant-based/vegan/vegetarian diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans. If you chose to eat meat and dairy, choose lean poultry and fish, and low-fat dairy.
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Chose foods that are low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Manage stress/practice relaxation techniques 
  • Take prescribed diabetes medications 

If lifestyle changes are insufficient to manage type 2 diabetes, medications may be needed, such as:

  • Insulin 
  • Meglitinides 
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors 
  • Thiazolidinediones 
  • DPP- 4 Inhibitors 
  • Sulfonylureas 
  • Biguanides 
  • Dopamine receptor agonists 
  • Bile acid sequestrants 
  • SGLT2 inhibitors 
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists 
  • Amylin analog 
  • Combination medicines, which may be made up of more than one medication in the above classes
  • Women with gestational diabetes may need insulin or metformin 

Other treatments for diabetes may include: 

  • Weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) for some patients who are obese
  • Artificial pancreas 

QUESTION

______________ is another term for type 2 diabetes. See Answer

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Reviewed on 10/19/2021
References
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes

https://www.fda.gov/media/119148/download

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type1.html

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/gestational-diabetes-beyond-the-basics?search=Gestational%20Diabetes%5C&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/939114

https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/about/treatment/

https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/gestational-diabetes/how-to-treat-gestational-diabetes