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Diabetes  

2010-05-07 20:53:46|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Type 2 Diabetes: What Is It?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that thwarts the body's ability to convert sugar into energy. This allows sugar levels to build up in the blood, which can lead to heart disease, blindness, and other serious complications. Type 2 diabetes strikes people of all ages, and early symptoms are subtle. In fact, a third of people with type 2 diabetes don't know they have it. Learn the warning signs in this slideshow.

Warning Sign: Thirst

One of the first symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be an increase in thirst. This is often accompanied by additional problems, including dry mouth, increased appetite, frequent urination ?sometimes as often as every hour -- and unusual weight loss or gain.

Warning Sign: Headaches

As blood sugar levels become more abnormal, additional symptoms may include headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue.

 

Warning Sign: Infections

In most cases, type 2 diabetes is not discovered until it takes a noticeable toll on health. One red flag is troubling infections, such as:

 

Cuts or sores that are slow to heal.

Frequent yeast infections.

Itchy skin, especially in the groin area.

Risk Factors You Can Control

Your habits and lifestyle can affect your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Factors that boost your risk include:

 

Being overweight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 25.

Abnormal cholesterol and blood fats, such as good cholesterol (HDL) lower than 35 mg/dL or a triglyceride level over 250 mg/dL.

High blood pressure, greater than 140 /90 in adults.

Sedentary lifestyle.

Risk Factors You Can't Control

Other risk factors are out of your control, including:

 

Race or ethnicity: Hispanics, blacks, Native Americans, and Asians have a higher than average risk.

Family history of diabetes: Having a parent or sibling with diabetes boosts your risk.

Age: Being 45 and older increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.

The more risk factors your have, the greater your odds of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Although older people have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, the condition is striking more young people. A third of American children born in 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. The leading risk factor for kids is being overweight, often connected with an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. Once children are overweight, their chances of developing type 2 diabetes more than doubles.

Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

There's no need for guesswork in diagnosing type 2 diabetes. A simple blood test, called a fasting plasma glucose test, does the trick. The test measures the level of sugar in your blood after you have been fasting for at least 8 hours. Normal fasting blood glucose is between 70 and 100 mg/dL. If two separate blood tests show this level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.

Converting Glucose to Energy

In healthy people, after a meal, food is broken down into a sugar called glucose, which is carried by the blood to cells throughout the body. Cells use the hormone insulin, made in the pancreas, to help them process blood glucose into energy. People develop type 2 diabetes because the cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly.

Long-Term Damage: Arteries

Over time, untreated type 2 diabetes can damage many of the body's systems. Two out of three people with diabetes die of heart disease. Having diabetes also puts you at risk for stroke. People with diabetes are likely to develop plaque in their arteries, which reduces blood flow and increases the risk of clots. This raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of developing kidney disease or kidney failure. Patients with kidney failure must get a kidney transplant or rely on dialysis to survive.

Long-Term Damage: Eyes

High blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the retina, a critical part of the eye. This is known as diabetic retinopathy, and it can cause progressive, irreversible vision loss. It is the leading cause of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 60. Pools of blood, or hemorrhages, on the retina of an eye are visible in this image.

Long-Term Damage: Feet

People with diabetes often experience nerve damage that can make it more difficult to feel their feet. At the same time, hardening of the arteries results in poor blood flow to the feet. Foot sores and gangrene can occur. In severe cases, the foot or leg must be amputated.

Managing Diabetes: Diet

Fortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can significantly reduce the risk of damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and feet. The key is controlling blood sugar levels by changing diet. People with type 2 diabetes should carefully monitor carbohydrate consumption, as well as total fat and protein intake, and reduce calories.

Managing Diabetes: Exercise

Moderate exercise, such as strength training or walking, improves the body's use of insulin and can lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Being active also helps reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, and protect against heart disease. People with type 2 diabetes should try to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week.

Managing Diabetes: Medication

When people with type 2 diabetes are unable to control blood sugar sufficiently with diet and exercise, medication can help. There are many types of diabetes pills available, and they are often used in combination. Some work by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin, and others improve the effectiveness of insulin or block the digestion of starches.

 

Managing Diabetes: Insulin

Many people with type 2 diabetes eventually develop "beta-cell failure." This means the cells in the pancreas no longer produce insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. In this case, insulin therapy ?injections or an insulin pump ?must become part of the daily routine.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

One of the most astonishing things about type 2 diabetes is that such a life-altering condition is often preventable. To lower your risk, follow the same guidelines for warding off heart disease:

 

Eat a healthy diet

Exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week

Maintain a healthy weight

Talk to your doctor about being screened for prediabetes

In people with pre-diabetes, lifestyle changes and medication can help prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.

 

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