Type II Diabetes – Overview
Diabetes Mellitus Type II is a different disease than Type I Diabetes. Rather than being caused by an inability to produce insulin, people with Type II Diabetes can initially make plenty of insulin, but the insulin does not work properly. To compensate, the beta cells in the pancreas produce excessive amounts of insulin to maintain normal blood sugars. This state of needing double or triple the typical amount of insulin to achieve a normal blood sugar is known as insulin resistance. This process is analogous to a person receiving a cut in their salary. In order to pay bills on time and meet other financial obligations, the person must work over time. As he/she continue to receive pay cuts, the person must keep working more hours to make ends meet. Eventually, the person becomes tired from the stress of working so many extra hours, and eventually he cannot work at all. To an outsider, who only has access to the bank account and the bills, things seemed OK before the person stopped working, because all the bills were paid. When he stops working, the bills will suddenly mount up and the bank balance will nosedive and he may go into debt. In this analogy, the debt is like the blood sugar which stayed normal for a long period of time, and then suddenly starts to rise. In a similar manner, the pancreas has been forced to produce so much more insulin due to the insulin’s inefficiency, and the pancreas eventually fatigues. When the beta cells of the pancreas are no longer able to produce excessive amounts of insulin, the insulin levels start to fall and blood sugar levels rise. At this point Type II Diabetes can be diagnosed.
There are 27 million Americans with Type II Diabetes. While the incidence of diabetes increases with age, and most people are diagnosed during middle age, its occurrence is increasing among teenagers and children. The person will be symptom free until their blood sugars rise to a high level. When the sugar is high enough to spill into the urine, people with Type II Diabetes tend to notice the excessive thirst and urination. They will not become critically ill with ketoacidosis and consequently they may experience these symptoms over a longer period of time than those people with Type I diabetes. People who have one parent with Diabetes Type II have a 50% chance of developing this condition. When both parents have Type II Diabetes, the odds increase to about 95%. Type I and Type II Diabetes are two genetically distinct diseases. If you have parents with one Type, you are more likely to get that Type but the chances of getting the other Type are no different than that of some body without a family history of diabetes. As people gain weight, the chances of developing type II diabetes increases. However, there are many people who are not overweight who develop diabetes type II. It is a combination of genetic endowment acting and environmental factors that will determine if and when a person develops this disease. People with Diabetes type II, are prone to both microvascular and macrovascular complications mentioned in the discussion of type I diabetes.