The term diabetes refers to higher than normal levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Type II diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, was commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes until recently when the name no longer accurately describes the population with this disease.
Type II diabetes, in the past, was relegated to the adult population. However, in the new era of ever rising cases of childhood obesity and heart disease, the term adult onset diabetes is quickly becoming a misnomer. The number of children that are presenting to doctors with this disease is rising at epidemic rates.
Unlike Type I diabetes, where there is little to no insulin being produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, in Type II diabetes there is plenty of insulin. The problem lies in the fact that the cells of the body no longer respond to the insulin. The normal response is to cause gates in the cell membranes to open and letting the sugar in from the blood stream. Since this is not occurring, the sugar levels in the blood remain extremely high and the cells are deprived of the necessary energy that they would normally derive from the sugar.
Additionally, as Type II diabetes is sometimes not diagnosed for many years, the pancreas will sometimes stop producing insulin all together since the body sees no need to make something that can't be used.
Many professionals are prescribing changes in diet and increased activity levels as the medicine needed to help reverse some of the non-responsiveness of the cells to insulin. Making lifestyle changes can dramatically improve the overall health of the patient as well. To augment adjustments in nutrition and exercise, doctors can also prescribe diabetes medication which assists to increase the responsiveness of the cells to the insulin that the body may still be producing.
If left untreated, Type II diabetes can eventually decrease the quality of life and life span of the patient.
Rachel Dayer runs and operates http://www.mustask.com, a health related portal.