What is type 2 diabetes and how common is it?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into sugar for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help sugar get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputations. Thirty million Americans have diabetes, and 1 out of 4 of them do not know they have it. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
What are the most common long-term complications of type 2 diabetes?
People who have type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of toes, feet or legs. Adults who have diabetes have a 50 percent higher risk of death than those who do not.
Is type 2 diabetes genetic?
Certain genetic factors can put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes—but type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable and can often be prevented with doable lifestyle changes. You’re at higher risk if you have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
To answer that, we first need to define what insulin is. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas; it acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, your cells don’t respond normally to insulin. (This is called insulin resistance.) So your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get the cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, high blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputations.
For more information on type 2 diabetes, visit the CDC’s website.