WHAT IS ADULT ONSET DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult onset diabetes because it mainly affects people of middle age. This is commonly between the ages of 40 and 70. Diabetes occurs when there is a problem with your carbohydrate metabolism. It can be caused by genetics, a poor lifestyle or being overweight.
Normally, during carbohydrate metabolism, food is broken down in the bowel and absorbed in the blood as glucose. Excess glucose is transported to the liver where it is stored as glycogen by the action of insulin. Insulin is produced by special cells of the pancreas known as islets of Langerhans. It plays an important role in regulating how much glucose is available in the blood for energy and how much is stored away in the liver. For example, insulin is produced in excess amounts (more than normal quantities) in the body after eating a large carbohydrate meal. When one has diabetes, either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced is ineffective. This means that glucose will accumulates excessively in the blood. When sugar in the blood accumulates in excess, the kidneys remove the sugar through the urine. Excessive urination leads to thirst and also depletes the tissues of energy.
Diabetes has several symptoms like thirst, hunger, loss of weight, drowsiness and loss of energy and infections like boils. Adult onset diabetes mostly goes undetected for some time especially in mild cases, it is mostly diagnosed in routine tests like an insurance exam or before an operation.
GENETICS AND DIABETES
Genetics can play a major role. If both your parents are diabetics then you are most likely to develop diabetes. A person with a history of diabetes in the family and who leads a sedentary lifestyle, especially during maturity or middle-age, is likely to develop diabetes. For example, consider a 55 year old retired military officer (with one or both parents having diabetes). He has led a life of constant physical activity, but with time becomes less active and gains a few pounds. He is likely to develop adult onset diabetes. Inherited genes that control production of insulin are often the problem. This means that your body produces less than normal amounts of insulin because of the control mechanisms of the genes. Heredity diabetes is often mild and symptoms are not severe, it may be controlled by diet alone or in combination with some mild prescriptions.
CAN BEING OVERWEIGHT CAUSE DIABETES?
Obesity in middle-aged and elderly people can cause diabetes. It starts with mild symptoms which include thirst and excessive output of urine. In elderly women this can include itchiness around the vulva. Extra weight means that there is excess demands in the body for insulin. Since the pancreas cannot produce the excess amount required you develop hyperglycemia (excess of sugar in the blood). The good thing about diabetes caused by obesity is that it can be controlled. When a patient adheres to a low calorie diet, loses weight and achieves a normal weight, the blood sugar levels normalizes. Diabetes can be reversed.