Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) Risk Factors

Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) Risk Factors

T2D is the most common type of diabetes representing approximately 90% of all cases and most of these are adults. However, there is an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in youth mainly due to sedentary lifestyle, less healthy food, and obesity which is the major reason behind insulin resistance responsible for type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for type 2 diabetes in overweight children and adolescents. 

T2D is characterised by insulin resistance, this occurs when the body produces insufficient insulin and/or does not use it properly.

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range.

Prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes usually occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance or whose β-cells in the pancreas aren’t making enough insulin to keep blood glucose in the normal range. Without enough insulin, extra glucose stays in your bloodstream rather than entering your cells. Over time, this can develop into T2D.

T2D is associated with obesity, a lack of physical activity and smoking. If left untreated over time the extra demands on the pancreas to produce insulin can lead to a loss of insulin producing cells (β-cells). When this occurs people with type 2 diabetes will then need to take insulin injections to manage their blood sugar levels, thus developing Insulin Dependent Diabetes.