Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: You or someone you know may have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This video will help you understand what it is and why it's important to keep it under control. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is too high. Carbohydrates are substances your body uses to make energy. After you eat food that contains carbohydrates, it eventually goes to your small intestine. In your small intestine, the food is broken down into a single sugar molecules called glucose. The cells in your small intestine soak up the sugars, which pass into your bloodstream. When the blood reaches your pancreas, it detects the high amount of sugar in your blood. Normally, this causes your pancreas to put a chemical called insulin into your bloodstream. The insulin reduces the amount of sugar in your blood to a healthy level. How does insulin do this? As the blood moves through your body, the insulin and sugar exit the bloodstream into your tissues to reach your cells. Most cells have structures on their surfaces called insulin receptors. When insulin flows by, it attaches to the receptors. The insulin acts like a key in a lock to open up the cell so the sugar can get inside. Now your cell can use the sugar to make the energy it needs to work properly. And your blood sugar level drops back to its normal range. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don't respond to insulin as they should. This is called insulin resistance. When this happens, your insulin cannot unlock the cells too let sugar in because the locks, or insulin receptors, are missing or aren't working. As a result, sugar is locked out of your cells. When sugar can't get into your cells, it builds up in your bloodstream. This is a condition called hyperglycemia. In response to the high blood sugar levels, your pancreas makes more and more insulin. The overworked cells in your pancreas try to keep up, but they slowly lose their ability to make enough insulin. These problems may lead to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. If you have questions about type 2 diabetes or any medications you have been prescribed, speak with your doctor. It is important to take your medications as directed by your doctor. Tell him or her about any side effects you have.