A group of authors note, "In the United States, an increase from fewer than four percent to more than 50% of new cases of type 2 diabetes in the pediatric population was reported between the years of 1982 and 1998" (Leung, Kamla, Lee, and Mak). This means that children in our family could come down with the disease earlier in life, and they would have to manage their disease throughout their lives.
After diagnosis, without treatment, the disease can progress. One of the problems with the disease is that people often do not know they have the disease, and so it progresses before they gain treatment. Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms of diabetes. They can include fatigue and weakness, dehydration (often due to increased urination), increased thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, and confusion. There can also be some severe, long-term complications from type 2 diabetes. It can lead to heart problems, eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. There are often circulation problems that can lead to drastic measures like amputation, and it can severely damage the kidneys. Diabetes can also affect the nerves, most often beginning in the feet and working up the legs. In severe cases, the nerve damage makes the person feel no pain in their feet and legs, which can lead to permanent damage and nerve damage can occur in other areas of the body, as well. Diabetes is so dangerous because it can do damage to many organs, and yet people are not aware they have it. That is why it is so imperative to be tested regularly, to ensure you have not developed the disease.
Luckily, there are many treatment options for type 2 diabetes. The first thing doctors recommend is for patients to lose weight and get more exercise. Author Masharani continues, "Results from this study indicated that intervention with a low-fat diet and 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (equivalent to a brisk thirty-minute walk five times a week) reduces the risk of progression to type 2 diabetes by 58% when compared to a matched control group" (Masharani 21). Most people who lose weight and begin exercising can effectively manage their glucose levels and control the disease. Often, those on diabetes medications can go off them if they lose enough weight to manage their glucose levels.
However, sometimes it is difficult for sufferers to manage their glucose levels effectively. In this case, there are many different drugs that can help treat the disease or some of the complications from the disease. Doctors may prescribe antidepressants, which seem to help treat swelling and nerve damage related to the disease, or they may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to help deal with heart and circulatory problems. If you have kidney problems due to diabetes, you may have to take high-blood pressure medication or a diuretic to help the kidneys function correctly. If a person develops specific complications, such as nerve damage, heart disease, or other side effects of diabetes, there are specific treatments that can be used to help treat these side effects, as well. In most cases, many of these treatments are unnecessary if the patient loses weight, exercises, and eats balanced, well-planned meals.
In conclusion, type 2 diabetes might not seem like a big deal to some people, but research shows that it can be quite debilitating. If not treated and managed, it can lead to major complications and even death. My family needs to take control of their diabetes by losing weight, eating a better diet, and exercising. If they do this, they can increase the quality and length of their lives. This has made me think about my own tendency to develop the disease, and how I want to make sure I do not develop it now, or in the future. I think the disease can be managed effectively, and I want to take the steps now so I don't have to worry about this issue in the future. I hope I can convince my family to do the same thing.
Draznin, Boris. "T2D: The Longest Mile Type 2 Diabetes." USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education) Sept. 2007: 74+.