Type 2 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

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Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in Malaysia. According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, almost one in five Malaysian adults has diabetes. The survey also revealed that 1.8 million out of 3.5 million Malaysians diagnosed with diabetes were not even aware they have the disease!

Diabetes is a lifelong condition when your blood glucose level is too high. Type 2 diabetes occurs progressively when the body becomes immune to the effects of insulin (insulin resistance) and/or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (insulin deficiency). This results in glucose staying in the blood and unable to be utilised by the body organs to be used as energy.

image credit: Pixabay

 What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

1) Overweight: Being overweight will cause our body cells to not react to insulin

2) Genetics: If you have a family member who has diabetes, you have a higher chance of getting diabetes

image credit: Getty Images

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Majority of diabetics do not have any symptoms until much later on when they will experience some of these:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • passing urine more often than usual especially at night
  • feeling more tired than usual
  • unexplained weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • cuts and wounds take longer to heal

image credit: Pixabay

There are a few ways to diagnose diabetes and tests should be carried out in your doctor’s clinic or a health lab prior to initiating therapy.

1) The Fasting Blood Glucose Test is a blood test to diagnose diabetes or pre diabetes and requires you to fast for 8 hours before performing the test.

2) The Random Blood Glucose Test measures your blood glucose at any time.

  • In symptomatic individual, one abnormal glucose value is diagnostic.
  • In asymptomatic individual, 2 abnormal glucose values are required.

3) The HbA1C Test measures your average blood glucose over the past 3 months. High values mean you are at risk of vascular complications.

  • A repeat HbA1c should be repeated 4 weeks after the first positive test for asymptomatic patients.
  • For symptomatic patients, a single positive test is sufficient.

4)  The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test measures your blood glucose level before and after you drink a syrup glucose solution (a sweet drink). Your blood will be drawn once before you drink the solution and have your blood drawn again after 2 hours.

Next up on Healthtips by Teleme, diabetes medication and treatment.

Sources:
1) https://www.niddk.nih.gov
2) https://www.nhs.uk
3) www.diabetes.co.uk
4) MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines on Management of Type 2 Diabetes 2015

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Dr. Vijay Ananda

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