Type 2 diabetes (also called “non-insulin dependent diabetes” (DNID) or “fatty diabetes”), more common than type 1, mainly affects people over 40 years of age. This disease is serious by its complications, especially on the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and nerves. Its management is based on hygieno-dietetic measures (balanced diet and physical activity), as well as on drug treatments.
What is insulin?
Insulin is one of the hormones that help regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. When this rate increases (for example after a meal), the pancreas secretes insulin which promotes the storage of sugar in the muscles and the liver. Without this hormone, the blood sugar level would be too high. If sugar is the major food of our cells, a permanent rise in its blood level causes damage, especially on blood vessels.
What is type 2 diabetes?
People with type 2 diabetes secrete insulin, but this hormone less effectively regulates their blood sugar. This level, called blood sugar, remains abnormally high after a meal, which is the definition of diabetes. Gradually, the pancreas becomes exhausted to secrete increasing amounts of insulin. Also called fatty diabetes, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 diabetes mainly affects overweight or obese, sedentary people, most often after 45 years. It represents 90% of the cases of diabetes after 60 years.
A study by INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) estimates that 5% of the French population (around 2 million people) suffers from type 2 diabetes. The number of cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed each year increases by more than 5% per year. Recently, with the increase in the number of obese people in Western countries, the average age of onset of type 2 diabetes has decreased: cases of adolescents with this disease have even been reported in the United States.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are inconspicuous and it is most often diagnosed during a blood test. Symptoms of complications from type 2 diabetes are difficulty healing, loss of sensitivity in the feet, impaired vision, kidney failure, heart attack or stroke.
As the disease progresses, symptoms may eventually appear:
- increased thirst and hunger;
- frequent urination;
- tired ;
- dry itchy skin;
- cuts and wounds that heal slowly;
- frequent infections of the gums, bladder, vagina, vulva and foreskin;
- insensitivity or tingling of the hands and feet;
- erectile dysfunction;
- blurred vision.
- In addition, in people with type 2 diabetes, it is common for a blood test to show elevated triglyceride levels in the blood and lower than normal HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It is also common to see an abnormal rise in blood pressure (“tension”).