Pathophysiological Implications of Type 2 Diabetes

With the CDC reporting over 100 million Americans having either diabetes or prediabetes, it’s of the utmost importance to fully understand what exactly this disease is, and how it changes the lives of those afflicted.

This article is going to concern itself with the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. While the word ‘pathophysiology’ might look intimidating, it simply refers to the bodily processes that have become disordered due to a particular condition. In short, the pathophysiology of any specific condition is the changes that have happened in the body due to the development of that disease.

Type 2 diabetes has various health implications that affect the daily lives of those afflicted, leading to the need for careful monitoring of what kind of food is ingested, and just how much of it is ingested throughout the day. People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to be on cholesterol and blood pressure medication, as well as watch what they eat more carefully than the average person.

Here are a few things typical of someone who has type 2 diabetes:

Insulin Resistance

One of the most significant bodily changes noted in type 2 diabetes pathophysiology would be insulin resistance. Insulin helps your body regulate blood sugar levels, but the bodies of those who have type 2 diabetes can’t effectively use insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Initially, the pancreas will overcompensate by producing more insulin to keep things managed, but over time, it won’t be able to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels properly regulated. After some time, blood sugar levels will spike, and this can result in impaired kidney function, damaged blood vessels, and a significantly increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Kidney Damage

Those with very poorly managed type 2 diabetes will eventually fall victim to kidney damage. The main function of the kidneys is to filter waste products out from the blood, so if there’s significant kidney damage, it can result in the need to go on a dialysis machine, or in extreme cases, death may occur. There’s treatment available that has a net protective effect on the kidneys, which can make life a lot less stressful.

High Blood Pressure

Another major effect of type 2 diabetes is a much higher incidence of high blood pressure when compared to population averages. High blood pressure puts more strain on the circulatory system, leading to an excess of blockages and the buildup of hard plaque over time. The long-term effects of having to manage very sensitive blood pressure levels are one of the major concerns for those with the condition.

Conclusion

Type 2 diabetes affects the body’s ability to efficiently process the sugars in carbohydrates we consume, so naturally, it’s expected that there will be some physical changes due to the condition.

Proper diet and exercise is the best recommendation for those who wish to live their lives as healthy as possible. There’s no cure, but it’s treatable, with yearly advances in diabetes treatment translating into much longer lifespans, and even a relatively normal life when all things are considered.

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