*Please note: This slide show represents a visual interpretation and is not intended to provide, nor substitute as, medical and/or clinical advice.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that causes sugar, in the form of glucose, to accumulate in the blood rather than being used as fuel by the cells in our body.
When we eat, food is broken down by our digestive system into nutrient molecules that are then absorbed through our digestive tract for use by the body.
Foods containing carbohydrates or various sugars are broken down into glucose.
Glucose is an important source of fuel for many organs in our body.
However, to be able to use the glucose for fuel, the glucose molecule must first enter into the cell.
The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, a chemical messenger essential for the entry of glucose into cells.
As the blood glucose levels rise after a meal, insulin is released into the bloodstream and sets processes in motion to trigger the removal of glucose from the blood to enter into the cells.
In type 2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin and ignore its message to absorb glucose. This is known as insulin resistance.
In addition, in type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce the greater amounts of insulin needed to trigger these resistant cells to take in glucose from the bloodstream.
The most noticeable symptom of diabetes is frequent urination and excessive thirst.
Other symptoms include weakness, drowsiness, and blurred vision. These are caused by chemical imbalances in the blood related to high levels of blood glucose.
About one in four people with type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have the disease.
It is important to catch diabetes early.
Over time, high blood glucose damages the blood vessels This can damage the organs that these vessels supply leading to a variety of health complications.
Damage to the small, or micro blood vessels can cause vision problems, including loss of sight, nerve damage, and kidney disease.
Damage to larger, or macro blood vessels can lead to cardiovascular complications such as heart disease, stroke, and poor blood circulation.
Overweight and inactivity are major causes of diabetes.
A family history of diabetes significantly increases your risk of developing the disease.
Certain ethnic populations are also at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Finally, some medications may increase your diabetes risk, specifically corticosteroids, thiazide diuretics, drugs used to treat certain mental illnesses, and some antiretrovirals used to treat HIV infection.
In summary, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder. It causes sugar, in the form of glucose, to accumulate in the blood rather than being used as fuel for the cells in our body.
If not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner type 2 diabetes can lead to many health complications.