Causes of Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes which used to be known as middle aged diabetes, is the most universally widespread form of diabetes, but the causes of type 2 diabetes are not clear cut they are caused by a combination of factors, which include insulin resistance, this condition occurs when your liver, muscles and fat cannot use insulin.

Insulin helps muscle, fat, and liver cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose. The stored form of glucose is called glycogen.

One of the causes of Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for the impaired ability to use insulin. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may develop gradually over a long period of time, and they can be subtle; some people with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed for years. Fifty years ago diabetes was called the silent killer because often it did not present symptoms until it had developed to the complications stage.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes.

Causes of type 2 diabetes are not fully understand, but non the less there are some fairly accurate pointers. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older people who are also overweight or obese. The disease, once rare in the young 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.

Genetic Susceptibility to type 2 Diabetes

Genes play a significant part in susceptibility and causes of type 2 diabetes. Having certain genes or combinations of genes may increase or decrease a person’s risk for developing the
disease. The role of genes is suggested by the high rate of type 2 diabetes in families
and identical twins and wide variations in diabetes prevalence by ethnicity. Type 2
diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Alaska Natives, American
Indians, Hispanics/Latinos, and some Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific
Islander Americans than it does in non-Hispanic whites.
causes of type 2 diabetes
Recent studies have combined genetic data from large numbers of people, accelerating
the pace of gene discovery. Though scientists have now identified many gene variants
that increase susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, the majority have yet to be discovered. It is unlikely that there is one diabetic gene which causes type 2 diabetes. The known genes appear to affect insulin production rather than insulin resistance. Researchers are working to identify additional gene variants and to learn how they interact with one another and with environmental factors to cause diabetes.

Studies have shown that variants of the TCF7L2 gene cause type 2 diabetes. For people who inherit two copies of the variants, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is about 80 percent higher than for those who do not carry the gene variant.1 However, even in those with the variant, diet and physical activity leading to weight loss
Genes can also increase the risk of diabetes by increasing a person’s 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.

However modern research at Newcastle university is identifying one of the causes of type 2 diabetes as a result of crossing your personal fat threshold.This would account for the fact that some obese people will never develop diabetes.

Obesity and Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity and obesity are strongly associated with the development of type 2
diabetes. People who are genetically susceptible to type 2 diabetes are more vulnerable
when these risk factors are present.

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.

The DPP and other studies show that millions of people can lower their risk for type 2
diabetes by making lifestyle changes and losing weight. The DPP proved that people
with prediabetes—at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes—could sharply lower
their risk by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and
calories. In 2009, a follow-up study of DPP participants—the Diabetes Prevention Pro-
gram Outcomes Study (DPPOS)—showed that the benefits of weight loss lasted for at
least 10 years after the original study began.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a common condition in people who are overweight or obese, have
excess abdominal fat, and are not physically active. Muscle, fat, and liver cells stop
responding properly to insulin, forcing the pancreas to compensate by producing extra
insulin. As long as beta cells are able to produce enough insulin, blood glucose levels
stay in the normal range. But when insulin production falters because of beta cell
dysfunction, glucose levels rise, leading to prediabetes which can develop into full blown diabetes.

Abnormal Glucose Production by the Liver

In some people with diabetes, an abnormal increase in glucose production by the liver
also contributes to high blood glucose levels. Normally, the pancreas releases the hormone
glucagon when blood glucose and insulin levels are low. Glucagon stimulates the liver
to produce glucose and release it into the bloodstream. But when blood glucose and
insulin levels are high after a meal, glucagon levels drop, and the liver stores excess
glucose for later, when it is needed.

For reasons not completely understood, in many people with diabetes, glucagon levels stay
higher than needed. High glucagon levels cause the liver to produce unneeded glucose,
which contributes to high blood glucose levels. Metformin, the most commonly used
drug to treat type 2 diabetes, reduces glucose production by the liver.

The Roles of Insulin and Glucagon in Normal Blood Glucose Regulation

A healthy person’s body keeps blood glucose levels in a normal range through several complex mechanisms. Insulin and glucagon, two hormones made in the pancreas, help regulate blood glucose levels

• Insulin, made by beta cells, lowers elevated blood glucose levels.
• Glucagon, made by alpha cells, raises low blood glucose levels.

When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood.

• Insulin helps muscle, fat, and liver cells
absorb glucose from the bloodstream,
lowering blood glucose levels.
• Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle
tissue to store excess glucose. The stored
form of glucose is called glycogen.
• Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels by
reducing glucose production in the liver.

When blood glucose levels drop overnight or due to a skipped meal or heavy exercise, the pancreas releases glucagon into the blood.

• Glucagon signals the liver and muscle tissue
to break down glycogen into glucose,
which enters the bloodstream and raises
blood glucose levels.
• If the body needs more glucose, glucagon
stimulates the liver to make glucose from
amino acids.

Diabetes Impacts Eyes

A normal eye-before Diabetes Impacts Eyes

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Diabetes impacts eyes because diabetics have an increased risk of developing eye complications which, if left untreated, can lead to poor vision and blindness. However, 98% of serious vision loss from diabetes can be prevented with regular eye examinations and early treatment. Glucose crystals  as a resultant of too high sugar readings are damaging your organs. However, this can be avoided with regular eye examinations.

How does the eye work?

The eye works a bit like a camera. Light enters through the cornea and the pupil before passing through the lens which focuses the light onto the retina. Special cells in the retina detect the light, forming the focused image like film in an old fashioned camera. The image is sent along the optic nerve to the brain. At the centre of the retina is the macula which is responsible for the ‘seeing’ straight ahead part of our  vision while the retina is responsible for ‘seeing’ from the edges of our vision.
A normal eye

Diabetes Impacts Eyes How

High blood glucose levels can cause changes in the shape of the lens which can temporarily cause blurring of your vision. This commonly occurs before being diagnosed with diabetes or when diabetes isn’t well managed. The blurriness usually disappears when blood glucose levels are reduced through appropriate treatment. Therefore getting new glasses should be delayed until blood glucose levels are back within the recommended range.
High blood glucose levels for long periods of time can increase the risk of more serious eye problems in people with diabetes, including:

Most diabetics underestimate the fact that diabetes impacts eyes and sight,  partly because  they do not notice changes in their vision until the condition is very serious, it is essential to have regular eye examinations so that problems can be detected early and treated promptly. Few diabetics get the luxury of early warning signs, often the damage is done before you even begin to get any symptoms.

Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Non -proliferative

 

The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of small blood vessels at the back of the eye being damaged by high blood glucose and high blood pressure. This can result in leakage and often progresses to blockage of the vessels that supply the retina with nutrients. This stage is called non -proliferative or background retinopathy and there may be no noticeable change in your vision.

    •   Proliferative

Without early detection and treatment, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy can progress and the retina may grow new blood vessels. This advanced stage is called proliferative retinopathy. The new blood vessels are weaker and can bleed onto the retina or the vitreous, the jelly-like centre inside your eye. Vision can be affected, sometimes seriously and suddenly.

The growth of new vessels may also lead to developing scar tissue which can cause further problems such as a retinal detachment. Once these changes occur it is hard to
restore any lost vision and the resulting damage can lead to blindness. Sometimes new vessels may grow on the iris and this can lead to neovascular glaucoma (see below).

Macular oedema

Blood vessels in the macula, the central area of the retina, can leak fluid causing swelling and can result in central vision loss.

Cataracts
Changes or problems in the lens can result in clouding and decreased vision known as cataracts. Although ageing is the main risk factor, people with diabetes tend to develop cataracts more rapidly and at a younger age.
Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve is damaged. The progression of glaucoma is usually slow. Glaucoma can affect anyone but it appears to be more common in people who have diabetes. People with diabetes may also have a less common form of glaucoma which develops as a complication of severe diabetic retinopathy or neovascular glaucoma.
What are the symptoms of diabetes related eye complications?
Often diabetes-related eye complications have no signs or symptoms and there may be no obvious deterioration in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Changes in vision may also be so gradual that you do not notice it for some time.
Where signs and symptoms are present, they can include:

  • Floaters and flashes
  • Blurry, blocked or dim vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Halos around lights or sparkles
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Distortion or ‘holes’ in vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions

If you are a diabetic any change in your vision should be checked by your optometrist, ophthalmologist  or doctor.

Caring for your eyes

  • You should be told as soon as your diabetes is diagnosed that diabetes impacts eyes, Be aware of your personal risk
  • Have an eye examination by an eye care professional when you are first diagnosed with diabetes and then at least every two years (or more often as indicated by your doctor or eye care professional).
  • Examination of your eyes involves viewing the back of your eyes. This will involve adding eye drops to dilate the pupils or taking a photograph of the back of your eyes.
  • If retinopathy is detected, you will need to have your eyes examined more often and you may be referred to a medical eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
  • Notify your eye care professional immediately if you notice any changes in your vision.
  • Keep your blood glucose levels, HbA1c, blood pressure and cholesterol within the recommended ranges. High blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure increase the risk of developing eye complications as well as increasing the severity of eye complications.
  • Have regular health checks including blood pressure readings, cholesterol measurements and kidney function tests as recommended by your diabetes care team. Diabetes impacts eyes and other organs.It is important that you discuss the results with your doctor and seek further advice for any results that are not in the recommended range.
  • If you smoke, stop!
  • Maintain a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and healthy eating to better manage your blood glucose levels.
  • Always take your medications as instructed by your doctor.

Can diabetes-related eye complications be treated?
Most eye complications can be treated successfully if detected early. Early detection and treatment can also prevent eye complications from getting worse. However, treatment generally cannot restore vision once it has been lost. Regular eye examinations and early treatment are therefore important to prevent vision loss.Diabetes impacts eyes in all cases and this is not something you can ignore.

The most common treatments for eye complications are:

Laser This involves the use of a special form of light of a specific wavelength that is able to heat retinal tissue and blood vessels. This can minimise leakage from blood vessels and cause regression of any new and fragile vessels.
Surgery

A surgical procedure called a vitrectomy is used in cases of advanced retinopathy. It involves the use of fine instruments inside the eye with the aim of repairing the most severe damage caused by diabetic retinopathy.

 

Weight Loss and Dieting Problem

healthy eating

healthy eating

One of the greatest health problems most urban citizens face these days is Obesity. The causes could be anything ranging from junk food or unhealthy lifestyles to improving standards of living and comfort seeking attitudes, rather than weight loss. Whatever the reason might be, the effects could be serious if the problem is ignored.

We all know what we should eat to be healthy, and whilst the rules of healthy eating are easy most people realize that the reality is very different, many people think that they do not have time to eat healthily.

Would you feel differently if you knew that healthy eating reduces your life span, well of course you know  that, but I guess it depends on your age how seriously you take that warning. If you are in your teens you may think that healthy eating does not apply to you.

Diabetic Diet

Diabetes type 2 used to be a disease of the middle aged, but today it isn’t. It is becoming a global problem and yet in many cases it has been proved that just losing 10% of your entire body weight will make a big difference to your glucose levels.

The first step to controlling his diabetes for Leo was to deal with his excess weight! What was perhaps incredible was the fact that the health benefits were evident immediately. Within a week he had lost 2 pounds which is the recommended amount of weight to lose to keep it off.

Diabetics cannot afford to go on fat diets or to starve themselves. He found a healthy way of snacking. I devised several different types of humus make the traditional way with chickpeas, but I added roasted pepper, or Indian spices, or spinach et cetera. I also devised who must with different types of beans.

Related Posts

Diabetic diet

Detoxing, A Guide to a Healthy Gut

What is a healthy Gut?

Your gut is not just a vague piece of internal piping somewhere inside us –  it is your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. For it to be a really healthy gut it relies on other organs such as the liver, gall bladder and pancreas to help in the digestive process. Everything we eat ingest goes in and out the same way, that means food, drink, alcohol, drugs legal and illegal, as well as viruses and bacteria.

healthy gut

A healthy gut is essential for health and well-being because the majority of our immune system is in our gut. It is important to keep a healthy balance of stomach acid, a healthy ratio of good bacteria to a limited quantity of bad bacteria and healthy daily elimination of toxic waste. Fast food, prepackaged food, preservatives, additives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, genetically modified food and microwaves are a major downfall of our health today. We are what we eat. Many diseases can be contributed to improper diet, indigestion and problems with regular elimination which directly affect our organs, energy level and ultimately a quality of life.

What is your Immune System?

Your immune system is your body’s defense against infection and illness. It recognizes the cells that make up your body, and will try to get rid of anything unfamiliar. It destroys germs (bacteria and viruses) and parasites. But this defense system can also cause problems. It will attack donated organs or blood from another person, unless carefully matched. It may overreact to harmless invaders such as pollen grains, causing hayfever. In some cases (autoimmune diseases), the immune system turns against the body’s own cells.

Maintaining a healthy gut

There are lots of ways to purify your body, but none of them are expensive or chemical. Your body can clean itself if it is not constantly overloaded. To detoxify it needs plenty of water and also exercise. Supplement your water with green tea or herbal teas such as ginger or camomile.

Alcohol in large quantities is a no no for several reasons. It contains a by product ethyl alcohol which is toxic to the human system. When we drink the body has to get rid of it before anything else because of it’s toxicity so the liver concentrates on breaking this down. Whilst it is doing this it neglects any other purifying or digestive tasks.

High fiber foods help to keep your stools supple making them easier to easier to eject. Long term constipation is not only uncomfortable but it leads to hemorrhoids which if left untreated have to be treated surgically.

Processed foods have been stripped of their essential nutrients, and as if that was not bad enough these nutrients are often replaced by chemicals and preservatives. Keep to the rules below and you will get a healthier gut.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • The body needs exercise to detoxify itself fully, take a ten minute walk a day at least, half an hour is better.
  • Avoid excessive intake of alcohol, caffeine, in both tea, coffee and other fizzy drinks.
  • Eat loads of high fiber foods such as wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid processed food wherever possible.
  • Remember food is better for you than supplements.

Everyone overeats at Christmas or birthdays or celebrations, no problem. Your gut health is determined by the foods that you eat on a daily basis not what you eat on high days and holidays. Your liver and kidney’s only get over whelmed when they have to deal with the wrong foods on a daily basis.

Diabetic retinopathy- Causes and Prevention

diabetic retinopathy

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Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2, recent studies by the American diabetic association have found that fifty percent of people with raised sugar levels in the pre-diabetes stage are at risk .

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when elevated sugar levels damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina. The retina is the light sensitive part of the eye and it is imperative for healthy vision, which is why blindness occurs when the retina is damaged. Sadly there is very little warning or symptoms before the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Which is why all

diabetic retinopathy
Cross Section of the eye.

diabetics should have dilated eye exam at least once a year. As diabetic retinopathy has four stages, if it is detected early enough there are treatments to halt the progression of the disease so that it does not lead to blindness. If you should see spots of blood or spots floating in your vision, even if it only happens once go and have an eye test, don’t wait for further damage to occur. Sometimes these spots will clear without any treatment, but hemorrhaging can occur in the night and blurred vision is the likely result.

Diabetic retinopathy has four stages:
1. Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy.

The retina has many small blood vessels and small microaneurysms or swellings occur.

2. Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy.

These swellings get worse until they block blood vessels to the retina.
3. Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy.

The blocked vessels become more swollen which deprives several area of the retina of their vital blood supply, to compensate the retina asks the brain to grow more blood vessels
4. Proliferative Retinopathy.

In the fourth and final stage of diabetic retinopathy new blood vessels develop, but they are fragile, too frail to cope with blood flow and once these blood vessels leak the end prognosis is loss of vision, or blindness.

Another complication is macular edema, the macular is the centre of the retina and it controls straight ahead and sharp vision. Statistically fifty percent of people with proliferative retinopathy also have macular edema.

Even at this stage of blurred vision treatment is possible. The most usual treatment is by laser,the resulting tiny burns seal the blood vessels and prevent further leakage. Sometimes more than one session is needed but most treatments are completed in one session, although practitioners usually leave a gap of several months if both eyes need treatment.
How are macular edema and diabetic retinopathy detected?

The test is normally in two part a test to see how sharp your vision is over distance and a dilated eye examination. Drops are placed in the eye to widen the pupil and then the surface of the retina and optic nerve is examined. The test is not painful but the after affects of blurred vision can linger for a few hours.

What is a vitrectomy?
If you have a lot of blood in the center of the eye in the vitreous gel you may need a vitrectomy to restore your sight. During a local or general anaesthetic
A vitrectomy is performed under either local or general anesthesia.  The vitreous gel is removed because it is clogged with blood, and it is replaced with a saline solution which has a a similar composition to the vitreous gel. Because an incision is made in the eye you may need to wear an eye patch for a time to stop any infections in the eye.

Although both the treatments have a similar success rate, they do not actually cure the condition. The condition will not be cured whilst your glucose levels are elevated. Modern research is looking at ways to inhibit the signals that ask for new blood vessels to be made.
A better prevention is to reduce your blood sugar levels. This will not only prevent diabetic complications in other organs such as the kidney , and prevent nerve damage.

Don’t forget there are rarely any warning sign and if left untreated diabetic retinopathy causes blindness. A simple painless eye once a year can prevent all these complications, if you listen to the video, you will hear that most sufferers’ of diabetic retinopathy will agree that they could have avoided diabetic retinopathy with regular eye checks.