Mona Khanna, MD, MPH explains that with type 2 diabetes your body can produce insulin but cannot use it. She explains the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
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Question: Type 2 diabetes, what is it? Dr. Mona Khanna: Diabetes Type 2 used to be called adult onset diabetes and that's because most people who used to develop it were adults. The reason for that is simple. It is because it is a combination of lifestyle factors plus a genetic predisposition that our body may have to developing diabetes. We don't call it adult onset any more unfortunately because of the obesity epidemic we see at now being developed at younger and younger ages, in children, even children younger than 10. Diabetes Type 2 is essentially defined as your body can produce insulin, which is the hormone that we need to convert all of the sugar we eat into fuel, but out body just cannot use it, the way that they used to use it in the past. In other words, insulin is produced by the pancreas and then your body has it function at a level where it can actually use the insulin. Unfortunately, something goes wrong in diabetes Type 2 and your body can use it as well as it use to. Question: How is different from Type 1? Dr. Mona Khanna: Diabetes Type 2 is different from 1 in that it is controllable to a certain degree. You do have a genetic predisposition to it, but you can control that genetic predisposition. For example, if you watch what you eat, if you maintain a normal body weight and you don't get overweight or you obsessed, you don't eat too many sugars, you exercise, you can control not only your own predisposition to diabetes, but also a longterm and short term effects that a diagnosis like that can lead you to. The long-term effects Dr. Mona Khanna: Diabetes is a devastating illness in the sense that if it is not managed properly it can lead to real lifestyle disruptions. For example, it can lead to very, very bad kidney disease. Many of the patients were now on dialysis are on there because their diabetes was not properly managed. It can lead to eye damage which can ultimately lead to blindness and that is devastating obviously into itself. Diabetes that is uncontrolled can lead to a peripheral nerve damage what we call that is peripheral neuropathy, very, very painful condition in all of your nerves, all over your body, your feet, your hands and arms and your legs and often times, it gets to such an extend where we have to put patients in wheelchairs and then can't walk as well as they used to. Those are some of the problems that we have with uncontrolled diabetes, and that's why people should be very concerned no matter what age you are? No matter which type of diabetes that you are diagnosed with? These are some of the long term effects that can happened. Not even to mention the most common and that is heart disease. Heart disease is obviously the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Diabetes patients can actually develop heart disease and not have the regular signs and symptoms that others might have. It can be called silent cardiovascular disease, because their nerves are not as robust as unhealthy people, they may not feel as much of the damage what is happening to their heart. Question: How does it relate to amputations? Dr. Mona Khanna: One of the problems with diabetes is in fact the nerves get damaged to the extent where you can't feel what is going on any more into your parts of your body. That's why foot care is so important with diabetes. For example, your nerves are damaged in your foot, let's say, you are wearing your shoes, but you step on a rusty nail. That rusty nail happens to penetrate inside your foot. But because your nerves are damaged, you actually can't feel it. You did develop an infection down there and because you have diabetes and your blood sugar may not be controlled, the infection rages on. You still don't know what is happening because you can't feel it. I know it sounds incredible, but unfortunately it happens all to a common inpatients who have diabetes and you can feel and the damage gets worse and worse and worse, finally it gets to the extent where your fo