What is Type 2 Diabetes? Define Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes effect lives daily. Of all the people in the United States of America that are living with diabetes, 90 to 95 percent of these Americans have type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus. That is about 34 million Americans, or over 10 percent of the U.S. population. As well, Americans account for over 7 percent of the 462 million individual cases of people living with type 2 diabetes worldwide.

The chronic illness has been deemed a public health crisis since more and more people have been subject to its increase at an alarming rate in the U.S. and all over the world in the past 30 plus years. The number of type 2 diabetes cases around the world is expected to rise from 6,059 per 100,000 Individuals to 7,079 per 100,000 individuals by 2030. As of now, type 2 diabetes is the 9th leading cause of death with over a million people dying yearly because of it. The good news is that learning about type 2 diabetes and its risks, eating a healthy diet, physical exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can all play a part to better the chances of a normal, naturally long, healthy life.

Type 2 Diabetes

What is Type 2 Diabetes: Sugary Foods

Type 2 diabetes (T2D), also called diabetes mellitus is a chronic illness and a metabolic disorder caused by insulin not moving the blood sugar (or glucose) from the food that you eat into your cells properly. Insulin, which is a hormone your pancreas produces within your body, helps the blood sugar move away from the blood and help it get into the cells of your body so that it is used as a source of energy.

You see, when you eat food that has lots of sugars and carbohydrates in it. It enters your body and through the digestion phase is broken down into blood glucose or blood sugar. This sugar in your blood triggers the pancreas to release insulin into your blood to help aid the transfer of this blood sugar from your blood successfully into the cells of your body to be used for energy or fuel.

When the cells of your body do not respond to the insulin properly, the pancreas works hard to produce more insulin to accommodate the level of sugar building up in your blood. Your pancreas can not make enough insulin to trigger the cells into taking the blood sugar and the pancreatic beta cells that makes insulin wears down.

Your cells have a problem accepting the amount of insulin available. The cells have built up a tolerance to the insulin and will not accept its persuasion. This is what is called impaired insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance. It makes the insulin less effective. When this happens, too much sugar builds up in the blood (this is when you have high blood glucose). This is the preset for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Over time, this diabetes can cause serious damage to your gums (along with other dental problems), nerves, heart, eyes (including vision loss), feet, kidneys, and cause strokes. It also causes sexual and bladder problems.

How Do I Know If I Am Insulin Resistant?

 How do you know if you are insulin resistant? Well, there are several tests that you can take to find out. There is no one test that will do. If your healthcare provider’s tests concludes that you have high blood sugar levels, low levels of high-density lipoprotein or low HDL (good cholesterol), high levels of low-density lipoprotein or high LDL (bad cholesterol), high triglycerides (a type of blood fat), then, you may have insulin resistance. If you are showing early signs that you are insulin resistant, then you may have prediabetes which means that you are borderline but not in the range of having type 2 diabetes yet.

Who Is At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes?

You are at risk for developing TD2 because of:

  • Your genetics – close relatives in your family like a parent, a brother or a sister have diabetes
  • Your ethnicity – if you are an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian ancestry
  • You are age 45 or older – type 2 diabetes are occurring more often in children than ever before. You can develop diabetes at any age, but you increase your risk as you get older.
  • You have had gestational diabetes (diabetes that you can get during pregnancy), or you gave birth to a baby weighting 9 pounds or more
  • Being overweight or obese – if you have a BMI of 25 and 29.9, then you are overweight and if your BMI is 30 or greater, then you are obese
  • Not being physically active
  • Having prediabetes
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having a heart disease or a stroke in your history
  • Having High blood levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat), coupled with low levels of HDL, in the blood stream
  • Some medications – such as Corticosteroids, Thiazide diuretics, some drugs used to treat HIV and some drugs used to treat mental illness

What Are The Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes?

It is important and can make big differences if you can catch type 2 diabetes as early as possible. 1 in 4 people are unaware that they have it because sometimes the symptoms are nonexistent and go undetected, or the symptoms are mild. So, they may be hard to spot. Below are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes:

  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive thirst
  • Constant hunger
  • Often urination – usually during nighttime
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Unexplained weight loss suddenly without trying
  • Sores, cuts and wounds that are slow to heal or do not heal
  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling fatigued or very tired
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

What To Know About Type 2 Diabetes

No one really knows what causes type 2 diabetes. We just know that the preset for type 2 diabetes is in motion when the cells in your body build up a tolerance for the insulin that the pancreas’ beta cells produce. This tolerance makes that insulin almost useless at delivering blood sugar out of the blood and into cell tissue properly for energy or fuel. Again, this lack of energy can make you tired or weak and the buildup of blood sugar in the blood stream can cause other damaging complications to different parts of your body.

Furthermore, outside of the other risks above, the risk of being infected with type 2 diabetes starts to increase around middle age (or around 45 years old). If you have not already, this is the age that healthcare officials suggest you go get checked since the symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mild to non-existent. This may not be the case but for many it is, and they can go years having prediabetes or even type 2 diabetes without knowing it until complications start to arise or until diagnosed.


[1] Charles, MD, MPH, S. (2022, February 24). Type 2 Diabetes: Statistics and Facts. Very well health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/type-2-diabetes-statistics-5214216

[2] Department of Health, State Government of Victoria, Australia. (2021). Diabetes - long-term effects. Better Health Channel.  https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes-long-term-effects#diabetes-and-cardiovascular-disease

[3] Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. (2005-2022). Understanding Type 2 Diabetes. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes#causes

[4] Mayo Clinic Staff. (1998 – 2022).  Type 2 diabetes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193

[5] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, May). Type 2 Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-2-diabetes

[6] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2021, December 16). Type 2 Diabetes. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html


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