Type 2 DM is a complex heterogeneous metabolic condition characterized by insulin resistance, impaired insulin secretion, and increased hepatic glucose production. There is an alarmingly increase in the prevalence over the past few decades worldwide.
Historically, Type 2 diabetes mellitus was considered a disease that typically emerged after the age of 40. However, the pandemic of obesity has led to an increasing number of cases being diagnosed in younger individuals and even in children. Obesity stands out as a prominent risk factor, emphasizing the crucial role of lifestyle in the development of diabetes. Recognizing risk factors such as family history, acanthosis nigricans, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and a history of gestational diabetes is imperative for early detection.
The conventional understanding of Type 2 diabetes is that it is a lifelong or irreversible condition. However, research now reveals that sufficiently intensive lifestyle interventions including weight loss can even produce remission of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in some cases. Recent years have witnessed the introduction of several potent and effective drugs that have revolutionized the management of diabetes. Unlike in the past, where insulin was often the last resort for uncontrolled sugars, a wide array of treatment options is now available.
The measurement of HbA1c, reflecting a three-month average of blood sugar levels, serves as a cornerstone in monitoring diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a treatment target of HbA1c less than 7%. The optimal management of Type 2 diabetes mellitus is not merely controlling blood sugars but rather comprehensive care, including lifestyle and dietary management, and prevention of complications. This involves regular screenings for complications such as diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy and macrovascular complications as well.
Diabetes management has been further transformed by technological advancements. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems eliminate the need for frequent finger pricks, providing a more convenient means of monitoring blood sugar levels.
As we mark World Diabetes Day, it is crucial to acknowledge that a healthy diet and regular exercise should be an integral part of diabetes management.
Regular visits to your endocrinologist to screen for diabetes-related complications will help in early detection and proactive management.
Dr. Sarah Alam is Specialist in Endocrinology
Canadian Specialist Hospital Dubai