Type 2 Diabetes 101

By: Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP

You must be curious by now as to why seniors are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes and who are most vulnerable. The website information from the Yale Research Team explains why seniors are at risk and the Mayo Clinic lists two common risk factors.

Why senior folks have more incidence of Type 2 diabetes:

An article published by the Yale Team in December 2010 stated that Type 2 diabetes affects around 40 percent of the American population over age 65. Previous studies by the Yale group had shown that elderly individuals, even when healthy, had a 35% reduction in muscle mitochondrial activity (the power plant of the cell) associated with a 30% increase in the fat content in muscle cells and severe muscle insulin resistance. According to senior author Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, the George R. Cowgill Professor of Physiological Chemistry, and professor of medicine and cellular and molecular physiology.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-2-diabetes/DS00585/DSECTION = causes

Two common risk factors from the Mayo Clinic:

Obesity –

  • Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though. It increases your risk of disease and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight.
  • The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. You can usually lose weight through dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes. In some cases. Prescription medications or weight-loss surgery may be options.

Metabolic syndrome –

  • Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions – increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels – that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.
  • If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.

Next week we will further try to understand the role of insulin and the concept of insulin resistance.

The Care Ministry wants to emphasize that this article is not meant to be your medical advice. Any of your health related questions should be directed to your own physician.

Your homework from the Care Ministry this week: describe metabolic syndrome to a friend.

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