What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?
Type 2 diabetes differs from juvenile, or Type 1 diabetes in the production of insulin, which is absent in patients with juvenile diabetes. Patients with Type 2 diabetes often are thought to have a “lifestyle disease” that is self-imposed by poor nutritional habits, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle. This combination means that your body, which uses carbohydrates for energy, can’t utilize the carbohydrates, which then turn to fat. The reasons for development of Type 2 diabetes are often attributed to high levels of circulating glucose due to an inability to either make enough insulin or as a result of damage to insulin receptors that enable the body’s cells to take up glucose for use in energy metabolism. Your body may begin to make additional insulin in the pancreas to compensate, but as time goes on, your pancreas can’t keep up with the amount of insulin to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. As a result of the development of Type 2 diabetes, you may have to change your diet and begin to take medications to reduce the amount of glucose in your bloodstream.
Complications of diabetes are common
The complications of diabetes are due in large part to high levels of circulating blood glucose. Some of the more common complications include neuropathy, which is nerve damage that occurs in almost half of patients with diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves in your hands and feet and may cause tingling, numbness or pain. Autonomic neuropathy affects the control of various body systems by the autonomic nervous system.
Peripheral neuropathy may be painful, but numbness may occur that results in an injury to your foot going unnoticed, causing a blister or an infection as the skin breaks down. Joints in the feet may also become deformed as a result of diabetic neuropathy. Poor circulation coupled with high blood glucose increase the likelihood of nonhealing ulcers on the foot, and infections may occur more easily and heal slowly.
Other complications include visual problems as a result of glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar causes damage to small blood vessels that supply the retina and other nerves in the body. In the retina, when the small micro vessels are damaged, new vessels may proliferate, causing visual defects. People with diabetes have a 60% greater likelihood of cataracts. Poor circulation coupled with high blood glucose increase the likelihood of nonhealing ulcers on the foot, and infections may occur more easily and heal slowly. Amputation is a serious complication of diabetes.
Diabetes affects kidney function when the millions of capillaries are damaged by high blood glucose, and after some time, the kidney’s vessels that filter waste through small holes in their sides begin to leak needed protein. Eventually, without treatment, waste products build up in the body and the patient’s kidneys will fail, requiring kidney transplant or dialysis.
These are only a few of the complications that occur commonly with diabetes. For this reason, doctors counsel their patients who become pre-diabetic, and encourage them to make dietary changes while increasing their level of physical activity.
What your doctor may not tell you
There are other factors that your doctor should warn you about, that may cause the onset of this disease. Researchers in the United Kingdom noted in 2011, after examining over 46 million patient records from patients with depression, that those who took the commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants or tricyclic antidepressants were twice as likely to get diabetes. Many Americans take these medications, yet how many have been told of the increased risk of diabetes?
These days, doctors prescribe atypical antipsychotic drugs for many reasons, including mood disorders and sleep. Many patients are upset by the sudden weight gain, which is always underestimated by health care professionals prescribing the drugs, but how many patients have been told that the reason for their weight gain is the change in glucose and insulin metabolism? Many Americans are trading one disease for another, equally as devastating in potential consequences.
Lithium is a medication used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and in some types of depression. There is usually significant weight gain with lithium, and in addition to other complications, lithium carries a risk of glucose intolerance and diabetes.
Common hypertension and cholesterol medications
Commonly prescribed antihypertensive agents known as thiazides carry a higher risk of diabetes with impairment of glucose tolerance. Niacin is also associated with hyperglycemia. Lasix, or furosemide, clonidine, and diazoxide are also associated with the onset of diabetes mellitus.
Glucocorticoids, including prednisone, cause hyperglycemia through insulin resistance in liver and muscle cells. At high doses, steroids limit the amount of insulin produced as compensation by the pancreatic cells. Patients with renal transplants who use glucocorticoids to suppress rejection are at risk for diabetes, a risk increased by obesity and family history. Anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders causes harmful change in glucose metabolism.
Hyperglycemia and risk of diabetes is one of several serious side effects seen with this drug used to treat epilepsy.
These medications are used to reduce cholesterol and subsequently to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They work by blocking the action of a liver enzyme known as an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, which is also responsible for many other bodily processes. Researchers evaluating five clinical trials of a total of 32,000 people found that the higher dose of statin taken was directly correlated with the risk of development of diabetes. In other patients with and without diabetes, statin use increased fasting plasma glucose levels, by 7 mg/dL in non-diabetic patients and by 39 mg/dL in diabetic patients. These medications appear to increase levels of insulin, causing inflammation, and because the liver stores excess sugar as cholesterol, when cholesterol formation is blocked your blood sugar level will rise.
What does this mean for me?
Many patients have been given new drugs without being informed of serious side effects, and this has resulted in disease and disability. Sometimes the information has been found in pre-approval studies by drug companies, and suppressed. There have been many cases of drug side effects in clinical trials remaining unpublished and unrevealed. At other times, you may have started a new medication only to find yourself 30 or 40 pounds heavier without any dietary change. If that is the case, you should visit your doctor for glucose tolerance testing or a check of your hemoglobin A1C. If you have developed a serious disease as a result of hidden complications, through deliberate deception or through negligence on the part of your physician, you may have rights that you can exercise under the law. You should call an experienced Chicago malpractice attorney to discuss your case today.