The second type of diabetes is much more common. This occurs in middle-aged people, especially if they are overweight. Because it occurs later in life, this type of diabetes is often called adult-or maturity-onset diabetes. It is also called type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is quite different from Type-1 in that the pancreas does produce insulin often more than in a healthy person but there is resistance to its effects. It is a situation called insulin resistance. As Type-2 is usually treated without the use of insulin, it is known technically as 'non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus' or NIDDM. NIDDM is somewhat more common in pregnant women and those who have had several children. It is also more common in men and women who are obese. And, in the same way that type 1 diabetes is not found in the animal kingdom or in primitive man, neither is type 2.
It can be seen that although the underlying problem is different between type-1 and type-2, the end point is effectively the same. Uncontrolled glucose in the bloodstream.
Type-2 diabetes is much more common: 90% or more of diabetics have Type-2. This occurs in middle-aged people, especially if they are overweight. Type-2 is also somewhat more common in pregnant women and those who have had several children. It is also more common in men and women who are obese.
That this form of the disease is a result of environmental and lifestyle factors is demonstrated when people emigrate and adopt the eating habits of their new country: Populations who migrate to westernized countries with more sedentary lifestyles have greater risks of type 2 diabetes than their counterparts who remain in their native countries. But it is not just the change in exercise patterns that causes the greater susceptibility to diabetes, populations undergoing westernization in the absence of migration, such as North American Indians and Western Samoans, also have experienced increases in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
There have been suggestions that particular dietary constituents are involved in the onset of NIDDM. Excessive fat, sucrose (sugar) and other carbohydrates, and inadequate dietary fibre are those particularly discussed.
Today, one frequently hears in the medical world, expressions such as 'the causes of diabetes have not been clearly identified', or 'we do not know what causes diabetes'. However, this is not so: we have known for almost three-quarters of a century. In 1935, a Dr H D C Given pointed out the correlation between carbohydrate intake and diabetes. This has since been confirmed many times and it is now known beyond doubt that diabetes is caused by an excessive intake of carbohydrates - just as obesity is.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. That is not the case with type 2. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin but that insulin is ineffective. It is a situation called insulin resistance.
Fortunately Type 2 diabetes is easily treated with a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Insulin is a hormone, produced in the beta cells of the pancreas. It carries glucose (blood sugar) from your blood into your body's cells so that it can be burned for energy or stored as glycogen or fat for future use.
Insulin resistance and its role in diabetes is a controversial topic. The original concept of insulin resistance referred to the clinical observation that some patients with diabetes required very large doses of insulin to lower their blood sugars. (8) When Rosalyn Yalow and Solomon Berson described the technique of radioimmunoassay in 1959, they noticed that individuals with Type 2 diabetes had high insulin levels and they introduced the concept of insulin resistance as a laboratory finding.
In 1976 Drs. Kahn and Flier described two syndromes of severe insulin resistance, and research at the time began to focus on the newly described insulin receptor as the cause of insulin resistance. But further studies showed that the insulin receptor is usually not the cause of insulin resistance.
More recently, several epidemiologic studies have measured insulin levels in populations. These noted higher insulin levels in subjects with high blood pressure and other vascular disease. For this reason, insulin resistance is now also considered a risk factor for heart disease. These studies have added a great deal of confusion to the field because many individuals with insulin resistance do not have diabetes.
Diseases of insulin resistance, particularly NIDDM, occur with greater frequency in populations that have recently changed dietary habits from hunter-gatherer to Western grain-based regimes, compared to those with long histories of such diets. This is why obesity and diabetes is so much more common among Americans of African and Asian origin than among those whose ancestry is European. It has been suggested that insulin resistance in hunter-gatherer populations may be an asset, as it may facilitate consumption of high-animal-based diets. The down side of this is that when high-carbohydrate, grain-based diets replace traditional hunter-gatherer diets, insulin resistance becomes a liability and promotes NIDDM.
The cause of type 2 diabetes via insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and pancreatic beta-cell failure, largely explains the worldwide increase in this disease.
Do you have Type-2 diabetes?
Whether you know it or not, if you are obese, particularly around the abdomen, and have been for some years, you may be at risk of Type-2 diabetes. For that reason, check out these tell-tale signs:
Symptoms of diabetes
(You are unlikely to be aware of the first two, but your doctor should pick them up.)
High blood glucose level (hyperglycaemia)
Glucose in urine (glycosuria)
Infections that will not heal quickly
Sometimes nausea and vomiting
Women may also complain of urinary tract infections or vaginal itching
If you have such symptoms, don't just live with them get your doctor to check them out. If you do have diabetes, the earlier it is diagnosed the more likely you are not to suffer the complications.
If the diagnosis is that you do have diabetes, however, check out the rest of these articles before you decide whether you want to go the conventional treatment route or not.