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Insulin Dependence in Type 2 Diabetics

written by: bevs lim • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/11/2010

We all know that type 2 diabetes mellitus is the “better" diabetes. It is normally non-insulin dependent, as patients can still produce insulin. So, why do type 2 diabetics become insulin dependent?

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    Insulin Injection Diabetes mellitus is an illness in which the blood glucose level in the body is higher than normal. The foods that you consume, specifically carbohydrates, are broken down into sugar called glucose. The glucose, along with other nutrients, is then carried throughout the body through blood flow.With the help of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, the body processes the glucose into energy.

    People suffering from type 2 diabetes have difficulty in converting sugar to energy. Although they are capable of producing insulin, thus called the non-insulin dependent type, their muscle, liver and fat cells do not make use of insulin properly. Because of this improper use, the pancreas needs to generate more insulin than it can possibly make. As a result, unconverted glucose level becomes high while the cells are denied of energy. High blood glucose can cause damage to the blood and nerve cells. It can also lead to heart disease, blindness, stroke, gun infections, kidney disease and amputation.

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    Why Do Type 2 Diabetics Become Insulin Dependent?

    If it is non-insulin dependent, why do type 2 diabetics become insulin dependent? Diabetes mellitus is a continuous and progressive disease that results in the pancreas’ inadequate insulin production. Over time, especially if not properly managed, medication has to be increased intermittently to rise above this unremitting decline of insulin.

    Doctors usually start with oral medications like Metformin (helps the liver use insulin properly), Sulfonylureas & Meglitinides (helps the pancreas produce more insulin), Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors (impair the absorption of carbohydrates, which is high in sugar), Thiazolidinediones (enhances the body’s use of insulin) and DPP-4 Inhibitors (blocks the production of dipeptidyl peptidase 4, an enzyme which impedes insulin release).

    Oral medicines are only effective when the pancreas responds well to therapy. Nevertheless, when the illness has affected the majority of the pancreatic cells, it does not work as well. This is the reason why non-insulin dependent diabetics become insulin dependent. Today, many of the doctors prescribe insulin to diabetes type 2 patients before exhausting all oral medicine options.

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    How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

    Aside from the oral medication and insulin mentioned above, here are some things that you can do to prevent serious complications brought about by high glucose level.

    Diet is the key to blood sugar control. Eat consistent, well-balanced meal that is low in sugar, low in fat and high in fiber. Consistency is of utmost importance; this will help in the calculation of the proper medicine or insulin dosage and keep your blood sugar at a comparatively even range.

    To know more about diabetic diet, please read Foods Diabetics Should Avoid and Planning a Weekly Diabetic Menu.

    Exercise, even as little as walking 20 minutes a day or any form of exercise is beneficial to diabetics. It can lower the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, stroke and leg ulcers.

    Say no to alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol can lower or spike your blood sugar level; it can also cause neuritis (nerve pain) and can increase triglycerides (fat in our blood). Smoking can raise the risk of complications as well; it can cause damage to the blood vessels and can contribute to stroke, heart disease and poor blood circulation.

    Keep a daily record. Monitor your blood glucose frequently before eating and before bedtime. Keep a diary of your blood sugar levels and medications or insulin doses, if any. Include the kind of food, length of exercise and any significant events. This can help you trace back what happened in case of health problems.

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    Conclusion

    So, why do type 2 diabetics become insulin dependent? Because they have inadequate insulin in their body and they need more of this hormone to convert blood glucose to useful energy. Although those who are diagnosed as type 2 diabetics do become insulin dependent, this does not mean that they have reverted to type 1 diabetes. If you have or know someone who have type 2 diabetes, be wise to make or share healthy lifestyle choice in terms of diet, exercise and other habits. These will greatly help in improving blood sugar control and minimize or prevent the complications of diabetes.

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    Disclaimer

    This is not medical advice and is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Check with your physician first before following any advice you have read on BrightHub.com. Consult your physician before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed to you.

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    Image Credits

    Mel B. - http://farm1.static.flickr.com/228/485746241_57937bb23a_z.jpg

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    References

    • http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/endocrine/type2.html#a_About_Type_2_Diabetes
    • http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/type2/treating/oral-medications.aspx
    • http://www.alwaysyourchoice.org/ayc/articles/diabetes2.php
    • http://www.steadyhealth.com/articles/Insulin_Pump_for_Type_1_and_Type_2_Diabetes_a1436.html

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