Type 2 Diabetes in Adults
Debates pertaining to the prevalence of diabetes have been rife in the recent times. This may have resulted from the increased awareness that people have shown, as well as the increased rates of the condition. However, few people understand the various aspects pertaining to diabetes. Diabetes refers to a group of ailments that are characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects present in the production of insulin, action of insulin or even both. Diabetes may have serious implications on the health or the wellbeing of an individual as it may result in premature death. Nevertheless, it can be controlled, and even the risk of its complications reduced.
There are various categories of diabetes including Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, gestational diabetes and others. While these categories of diabetes are quite prevalent, the type that is most prevalent in adults is Type 2 diabetes (CDC, 2012). Type 2 Diabetes (also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) is responsible for between 90% and 95% of all cases of diagnosed diabetes. In most cases, it starts as insulin resistance, which is a disorder where cells utilize insulin improperly. The rise in insulin results, in a gradual reduction in the ability of the pancreas to produce it. In most cases, Type 2 Diabetes is associated with obesity, old age, history of gestational diabetes, race/ethnicity, impaired metabolism of glucose, as well as physical inactivity and genetic causes of diabetes (CDC, 2012). Research shows that races such as Latino/ Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Asian Americans and American Indians are predisposed to high risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes, as well as its complications. Nevertheless, the condition is rare in adolescents and children though it is considerably prevalent or common in children from the above races (CDC, 2012).
Some of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include dry mouth, increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, headaches, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
Research has shown that there is a connection between diet and the risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. The research showed that individuals who consume fewer vegetables and fruits and drink sugar-sweetened beverages have increased risk of getting the disease (Feinglos & Totten, 2008). However, the research did not establish any association between the consumption of low-fat diet and the risk of getting diabetes. In addition, the risk of getting the disease increased for individuals who are obese (Feinglos & Totten, 2008). In a research study carried between 1995 and 2001, researchers tried to establish the connection between weight gain, consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks and Type 2 diabetes (Feinglos & Totten, 2008). This research established that around 17% of the women who had diabetes consumed a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day, 22% consumed a minimum of a glass of grapefruit or orange juice every day and 32% took a sweetened fruit drink every day (Feinglos & Totten, 2008).
Another research showed that the consumption of fruits and vegetables contributes to the reduction of vulnerability or risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. This is because they are the main sources of Vitamin C, which is known to be an antioxidant that reduces the vulnerability of an individual to diabetes. The research showed that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables enhanced the protection or defense against diabetes. This is especially because they prevent an individual from becoming obese and, therefore, lower the risk of contracting the disease.
The link between obesity and diet is the foundation of treatment of the disease using dietary or nutritional means. Appropriate choice of food has been considered as necessary for maintaining and ensuring sound health (Polikandrioti & Dokoutsidou, 2009). In fact, poor nutritional habits have been established as main causes of chronic diseases including osteoporosis, heart diseases and obesity among others. This has propped up healthy nutrition as the foundation for treating Type 2 diabetes. Healthy nutrition is known to have a positive contribution to the maintenance of the blood glucose within the normal ranges, as well as minimizing complications pertaining to the disease (Polikandrioti & Dokoutsidou, 2009). Scholars have touted the Mediterranean Diet as arguably the most all-inclusive choice of diet. The diet is composed of olive oil as the sole source of fat, as well as high to moderate consumption of cereals, fruits, herbs, legumes and fish blended with minute components of wine and meat. In addition, research shows healthy nutritional programs blended with exercise can effectively regulate blood glucose. Research studies show that the risk of contracting diabetes decreased after a combined program of exercise and nutrition in patients who had impaired tolerance of glucose (Polikandrioti & Dokoutsidou, 2009). This underlines the importance of informing patients suffering from diabetes mellitus about the benefits that come with healthy nutritional habits, which are the fundamental key in the regulation of levels of blood sugar. However, it is worth noting that the nutritional program’s design should be individual, irrespective of age, gender, weight, or even profession of an individual (Polikandrioti & Dokoutsidou, 2009).
While the fundamental question on the link between nutrition or diet and the risk of Type 2 diabetes has been answered, questions still arise as to variations in the prevalence of the disease among individuals of different races. This is especially considering that the variations may affect the effectiveness of a therapy in certain races. What is the interplay between race, diet and diabetes? Is the effectiveness of the programs reduced by the race of a patient?
Polikandrioti, M & Dokoutsidou, H, (2009). The role of exercise and nutrition in type II diabetes mellitus management. Health science Journal
CDC, 2012. 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet. Web retrieved from HYPERLINK “http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/general11.htm#gen_c” http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/general11.htm#gen_c
Feinglos, M.N & Totten, S, (2008). Researchers Verify Link Between Type 2 Diabetes And Diet. Medical News Today. Web retrieved from HYPERLINK “http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/116513.php” http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/116513.php