Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is much more common than T1D. It affects about 10 per cent of Australian adults, and the frequency is increasing dramatically.
Poorly controlled T2D can lead to damage of the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. Individuals with T2D have a much greater risk of heart disease and stroke.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
T2D is associated with impaired responsiveness of cells to insulin (‘insulin resistance’), but the basic mechanisms for this remain unclear.
Physical inactivity and obesity are two major factors associated with insulin resistance that explain much of the increased incidence of T2D. Accordingly, physical exercise and a change in diet are important treatments for everyone with T2D. Losing weight is a challenge, but an effective means is ‘lapband’ surgery, which leads to sustained weight loss and may dramatically reverse T2D.
The high prevalence of T2D and the personal and financial costs of treatment and complications mean that this disease a national health priority. Prevention strategies that increase opportunities for exercise and healthy eating are being implemented in several communities and the causes of insulin resistance are being investigated in the hope this will lead to improved treatments for T2D.