Type 2 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is not uncommon: in France, an estimated 3.5 million people are affected, mainly after the age of 40. " However, more and more cases are observed in young adults and adolescents "says Dr. Pierre Serusclat, endocrinologist and diabetologist.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a chronic hyperglycemia, that is to say, an excess of sugar in the blood and therefore a blood glucose level (glycemia) too high. This chronic hyperglycemia can be linked to two mechanisms:
- Either insulin acts badly, it is called insulin resistance
- Either the pancreas still makes insulin - the hormone responsible for the use and storage of sugar in the cells - but in an insufficient quantity compared to the blood sugar level (this is called insulinopenia),
Is it serious ? " Repeated and prolonged hyperglycemia leads to long-term damage to nerves and blood vessels throughout the body "In the absence of effective and adapted treatment, type 2 diabetes can therefore cause kidney failure, coronary heart disease, ophthalmic disorders, neuropathies ..."
Type 2 diabetes, who is it?
" You should know that type 2 diabetes is both a genetic and environmental disease Dr. Serusclat explains: Some people are more likely than others to develop pathology - " they are people who easily store sugar and whose body does not use much on a daily basis ".
In addition to this genetic factor, there are, of course, environmental factors. Thus, type 2 diabetes will appear more frequently in people who suffer from:
" There is also an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women who have suffered from Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy (the risk is also higher for the child) as well as in women who have given birth to a child weighing four kilos or more says Dr. Serusclat.
Good to know : "If there is a strong link between obesity and type 2 diabetes, you can have obesity without being diabetic and (more rarely) be diabetic without being obese," says the specialist.
How is type 2 diabetes treated?
At present, it is still impossible to cure type 2 diabetes. Treatments are based on daily anti-diabetic medications, a restrictive diet in case of overweight, and regular physical activity adapted to each. The goal? Normalize blood glucose levels to prevent serious complications.
As for antidiabetics, there are a total of 5 classes of oral medications and 2 classes of injectable drugs. The best-known antidiabetic drug is metformin (Glucophage®), which helps insulin act in cells and reduces the amount of sugar that the liver makes and pours into the bloodstream. But we can also mention hypoglycemic sulfonamides, glinides, gliptins and GLP-1 analogues which (each with different modes of action) increase the secretion of insulin by the pancreas.
" In some cases, remission can also be achieved through metabolic surgery, particularly in cases of severe or morbid obesity associated with type 2 diabetes. "Dr. Serusclat adds.
Against type 2 diabetes, the best solution is still prevention. " Even when you have a genetic risk, you can make sure that diabetes does not appear ... or as late as possible explains the specialist Some anti-diabetes tips:
- Maintain a body mass index (BMI) less than 25,
- Adopt a healthy and balanced diet, without excess,
- Practice regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day),
- Fight against stress (sophrology, meditation in full consciousness, relaxation ...),
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
Good to know : the French Federation of Diabetics (FFD) has put online a test composed of 8 questions to know if one presents (or not) genetic predispositions to type 2 diabetes.
Thanks to Dr. Pierre Serusclat, endocrinologist and diabetologist for the French Federation of Diabetics (FFD).
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