Diabetes mellitus, known as type 2 diabetes, is a chronic disease that until recently used usually occur in adults aged 50-55 years, so it was known as adult-onset diabetes. However, it is now increasingly common diagnosis of this disease in children and adolescents, because of the alarming increase in childhood obesity that has occurred in Western countries in recent times (in Spain there are 18.2 % of obese children).
Its most important feature is the presence in the blood of high levels of glucose and is one of the major cardiovascular risk factors, to the point that if not properly treated very serious complications can develop: stroke, myocardial infarction, neuropathies, diseases of the retina that can lead to blindness, amputation of a foot, etc.
Causes of diabetes mellitus or type 2
Under normal conditions, glucose metabolism from food is concentrated in the bloodstream to reach the cells of different tissues including the muscles and transformed into energy. This activity takes place through the action of insulin produced by the pancreas. However, there may come a time when the cells do not properly react to the presence of this hormone. It is what is called insulin resistance and is prior to the development of type 2 diabetes step.
The result is that cells absorb less glucose, and it builds up in the blood, without the insulin produced by the body, although the pancreas produces a greater amount is sufficient to ensure that it can absorb sugars and remain in the bloodstream. Thus a vicious circle that is the origin of diabetes mellitus occurs.
Diabetes mellitus or type 2
What is this mechanism that produces insulin resistance that degenerates in type 2 diabetes? The cause must be sought in the characteristics of patients who have this disease and where there are common factors determining:
- Obesity or overweight (the latter defined by an increase in abdominal girth).
- Hyperlipidemia due to increased levels of blood cholesterol
- Arterial hypertension
- Inadequate food (and high calorie diets high in saturated and polyunsaturated fats)
- Sedentary lifestyle (more calories consumed are eaten)
This is called metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by the presence of three or more cardiovascular risk factors.
However, there may also be a genetic determinant, as the children of people who have this type of diabetes are more prone to develop. At early stage of type 2 diabetes usually produces no symptoms and is usually diagnosed after conducting a routine clinical analysis. However, there comes a time when the agency in part to express the fact that glucose does not arrive in sufficient cells of different tissues quantities and begins to accumulate in the blood:
- Feeling of fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Habitual thirsty and need to drink
- Hunger at unusual times of the day
- Sometimes weight loss
- Increased need to urinate
- Increased number of infectious processes and slower in curing them
- Male erection problems
- Menstrual irregularities in non-menopausal women
- Pain or numbness in the feet or hands
Often in some cases the lightness of these symptoms to aging, problems of age and that, therefore, the existence of diabetes go unnoticed and continue its progressive evolution. It is very important therefore that adults over age 50, especially if they have a family history, undergo an annual analytical in which the measurement of blood glucose is included. This will allow the establishment of the most appropriate treatment in each case, with the aim of controlling the presence of sugars in the blood.