Diabetes Types

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Progression to Type 2 Diabetes

The pancreas of a person with type 2 diabetes generates insulin, but the body is unable to process it in sufficient amounts to control blood sugar levels. In some cases this is due to the chemical makeup of the insulin itself, but most of the time it is connected to how the body's cells specifically the insulin receptors that attract and process the hormone recognize and use insulin. As blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas pumps out more and more insulin to try to compensate. This may bring down blood sugar levels to a degree, but also results in high levels of circulating insulin, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia At a certain threshold, the weakened pancreas cannot produce enough insulin; in some cases insulin secretion is actually reduced by the toxicity of high glucose levels to pancreatic beta cells. At this point, type 2 diabetes results.

Essential

While most people with type 2 diabetes have some degree of insulin resistance, not everyone with insulin resistance has type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome X is a constellation of symptoms insulin resistance, low HDL and high LDL and triglycerides, excess abdominal fat, and high blood pressure that puts you at risk for heart disease.

Risk Factors

The biggest indicator for your risk of type 2 diabetes is the diagnosed presence of prediabetes. But since the vast majority of people with prediabetes remain undiagnosed, assessing the presence of the other common risk factors for type 2 diabetes is important.

Age and Ethnicity

According to the American Diabetes Association, over half of all cases of type 2 occur in people over age fifty five, and close to 7 million Americans age sixty five and older suffer from the disease. Individuals over age forty five should be tested for diabetes, and retested every three years thereafter if the initial test is normal.

Certain ethnic groups and minorities have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Native Americans