You are on page 1of 7

Ava Lieb

July 7, 2016
Health 1020
Type 2 Diabetes
What is my family history?
My family has a very minor history of any sort of diseases which made this paper a little
bit harder for me to research. After a long process of asking relatives and my parents about any
history of disease, I found out that a long time ago, one of my great grandfathers had type 2
diabetes. This was news to me because I know several of my family members have died from
cancer and other diseases along those lines but none that related to nutrition or lack of activity.
This was intriguing news to me because as far as I can think, my whole family has always been
very active and pay attention to their nutritional needs even with old age.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes affects an estimated 29.1 million people in the United States and is the seventh leading
cause of death. Diabetes can affect many parts of the body and is associated with serious
complications, such as heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb
amputation (NIH).
Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood
sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for the
cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It's also your brain's main source of fuel.

If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your
blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.
Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially
reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes when your blood sugar levels are higher
than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes and gestational diabetes, which
occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered (Mayo Clinic Staff).
More specifically, what is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At
first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time your pancreas isnt able
to keep up and cant make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 is
treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications (pills), and insulin.
When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:

Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.

Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

Some people with type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active.
But, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your
target blood glucose levels. Type 2 usually gets worse over time even if you dont need
medications at first, you may need to later on.

Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2
diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian
Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population (American Diabetes Association).
What are the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes?
There are several different risk factors that cause type 2 diabetes. The biggest ones
include genetics and physical aspects such as obesity or lack of activity.
Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older people who are also
overweight or obese. The disease, once rare in youth, is becoming more common in overweight
and obese children and adolescents. Scientists think genetic susceptibility and environmental
factors are the most likely triggers of type 2 diabetes (NIH).
Unfortunately, genes play a big role in obtaining type 2 diabetes. An individual can be at
a decreased or increased risk by simply having certain genes or gene combinations. As stated
before, certain nationalities have a higher or lower risk of obtaining type 2 diabetes. There have
been several studies showing how different gene combinations or lack of a gene can higher the
effect of diabetes by about 80 percent such as those that do not carry the variants of the TCF7L2
gene. Genes can also effect the susceptibility of diabetes by increasing the risk of a persons
tendency to become overweight or obese.
One theory, known as the thrifty gene hypothesis, suggests certain genes increase the
efficiency of metabolism to extract energy from food and store the energy for later use. This
survival trait was advantageous for populations whose food supplies were scarce or
unpredictable and could help keep people alive during famine. In modern times, however, when
high-calorie foods are plentiful, such a trait can promote obesity and type 2 diabetes (NIH).

Obesity along with the lack of physical activity are also strongly associated with the
development of type 2 diabetes. An imbalance between caloric intake and physical activity can
lead to obesity, which causes insulin resistance and is common in people with type 2 diabetes.
Central obesity, in which a person has excess abdominal fat, is a major risk factor not only for
insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes but also for heart and blood vessel disease, also called
cardiovascular disease (CVD). This excess belly fat produces hormones and other substances
that can cause harmful, chronic effects in the body such as damage to blood vessels (NIH).
What are the health complications?
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes
and the less controlled your blood sugar the higher the risk of complications. Eventually,
diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening (Mayo Clinic Staff)
There are several different complications that can occur with type 2 diabetes. The risk of
Cardiovascular Disease increases which includes coronary artery disease, heart attack, narrowing
of arteries (atherosclerosis), and heart attack. The excess sugar that comes with diabetes can also
injure the walls of the capillaries that nourish your nerves which can cause tingling, numbness,
burning or pain. These problems with nerve damage can also relate to digestion and cause
problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation and can also lead to erectile
dysfunction in men.
Diabetes can also lead to increased risk of kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage,
skin conditions, hearing impairment, and even Alzheimers Disease coming from poor blood
How can we prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Healthy lifestyle choices can help you stave off type 2 diabetes. Even people at high risk
can cut that risk in half through better lifestyle choices like healthier eating, getting more activity
and losing weight. If youve been told that you have pre-diabetes, these lifestyle changes can
slow or halt the progression of diabetes. The same changes can also lower the chances of
developing heart disease and some cancers, so they have total wellness benefits, too.
According to data from the landmark Nurses Health Study I & II, healthy lifestyle habits
can significantly counter even strong genetic risks for type 2 diabetes: Women least likely to
develop diabetes are at a healthy weight with a body mass index under 25, eat a healthy diet,
exercise for 30 minutes or more every day, dont smoke and have about three alcoholic drinks
per week. Data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which looked at men, showed
that men, too, can benefit from the same healthy lifestyle choices (Self Chec).
One of the biggest factors of prevention for type 2 diabetes is to control your weight.
Being overweight increases your chances of obtaining type 2 diabetes by seven times and being
obese increases it by up to 40 times more than people at a healthy weight. Simply losing 7 to 10
percent of your current body weight can decrease your chances of developing diabetes in half.
Controlling your weight can come from many different factors, the most important being eating
healthy. Though cutting calories is always a plus, eating the right foods that offer the most
nutrients is most important. You want to keep your foods lower in fat and calories and high in
fiber. This can be done by increasing your fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to replace
foods that your currently eat with those that will better contribute to your healthy. Suggestions
for this include replacing sugary drinks with water, coffee, or tea instead, replace refined

carbohydrates with whole grains, replace saturated fats with healthier fats, replace unhealthy
protein such as processed food or red meat with fish, chicken, nuts, etc.
Nutrition is a huge factor to preventing overweight or obesity but increasing your
physical activity can be just as important.
Because of obesity, lack of physical fitness or other reasons, people with diabetes may
forego exercise, but physical activity benefits them whether they get in shape or not. Physical
activity and weight management can still have tremendous benefits in controlling the disease and
minimizing the negative health consequences.
One of the first steps for people with diabetes or other active chronic diseases to attaining
a healthy body weight is speaking with your healthcare provider to assess your current health and
physical abilities and address any medical questions or concerns that you may have. Together,
you can determine the amount and type of physical activity that is appropriate. As a general rule,
at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (or a combination of
both) per week is recommended. In addition to helping manage body weight, regular physical
activity can help improve blood cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart
disease (Heart Insight).
A sedentary lifestyle is another serious risk factor for diabetes, whereas working your
muscles (exercising) boosts their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. Studies have found a
notable link between watching TV and developing diabetes. This could be because people tend to
eat mindlessly while they watch and are already overweight and inactive. Try limiting viewing
time and, when you do watch, march in place or do weight-resistance exercise during the
commercials (Self Chec).

Work Cited

Bhaskarabhatla, Krishna Krishna V. Bhaskarabhatla. "Physical Activity and Type 2

Diabetes." Taylor & Francis. N.p., 19 June 2015. Web. 07 July 2016.
"Diabetes." Self Chec Diabetes Comments. N.p., 2010. Web. 07 July 2016.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Diabetes." Complications. N.p., 31 July 2014. Web. 07 July 2016.
"Exercise Benefits People with Diabetes." - Heart Insight Mag. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July

"Facts About Type 2." American Diabetes Association. N.p., 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 07 July

Shuldiner, Alan. "Causes of Diabetes." Causes of Diabetes. N.p., June 2014. Web. 07 July