Type 2 diabetes is on the rise globally, and health experts are now worried that there may not be enough insulin to go around to those who need it – this according to a new study that concluded on Wednesday. Diabetes now affects as many as 9% of patients worldwide, which is a 5% increase compared to the 1980s, and researchers say they expect the amount of insulin that is needed to effectively treat type 2 diabetes will rise by more than 20% over the next 12 years.

The vast majority of those diagnosed with diabetes are diagnosed with Type 2, which is linked to both lifestyle (such as lack of exercise) and genetics (such as family history of type 2 diabetes.) Whether lifestyle-related or genetics-related, or even a combination of the two, this ultimately leads to what’s known as insulin resistance. Insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas, allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates in the foods you eat for energy, or it stores glucose for future use. When you develop a resistance to insulin, however, this means that your body either doesn’t produce enough of it, or is unable to utilize insulin in the way that it should be able to. Without insulin, your blood glucose level will be too high. This can result in a wide range of health complications, including problems with the eyes, blood vessels, heart, nerves, kidneys, and more.

The most common symptoms that are associated with type 2 diabetes include:

• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Hunger
• Blurred vision
• Weight loss

If I suspect that a patient might have diabetes, the first thing I would do is give them a requisition for blood work. Having the blood tested will be able to determine what a patient’s blood sugar levels are at and whether or not they are diabetic. If it is confirmed that a patient does have diabetes, the next step is treatment. Something that can be helpful in both the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes is implementing positive lifestyle changes into your daily routine, such as eating healthy and getting regular exercise. In order to better manage your blood glucose levels, you should pay close attention to your simple carbohydrates (i.e. white bread, pasta, and baked goods such as cookies and pastries), fibre, fat and salt intake. Foods I recommend consuming to those who have type 2 diabetes include more complex carbs (such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables, beans, and lentils) as well as foods that are packed with protein. Physical activity is also important, as it can help regulate your blood sugar levels, not to mention its many other health benefits. Insulin is another method of treatment, and a patient can be prescribed both short-acting and long-acting versions of this medication. Type 2 diabetes is considered a progressive disease, therefore it’s entirely possible that your treatment plan will need to be altered over time.