Diabetes is a condition where the level of sugar or glucose increases in the bloodstream. Insulin is the hormone that’s responsible for transporting sugar coming from your blood and into your cells, which is where the sugar is stored for energy.
When you’re suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, your body cells aren’t able to respond well to insulin, like they are supposed to. At the later stages of this medical condition, the body won’t be able to produce more insulin.
If left untreated, Type 2 Diabetes can cause chronically high blood sugar level and will lead to potentially serious complications.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
With Type 2 Diabetes, the body won’t be able to effectively use the insulin in bringing glucose to the body cells. This will make the body to rely on alternative sources of energy in your muscles, organs, and tissues.
This chain reaction could lead to various problems in your health. Type 2 Diabetes tends to develop gradually and the symptoms will start out mild so it’s easy for many to dismiss them at first.
Some of the early symptoms of diabetes are the following:
- Blurry vision
- Constant feeling of hunger
- Dry mouth
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Itchy skin
- Lack of energy
- Weight loss
As diabetes begins to progress, the symptoms will slowly get more severe and this is potentially dangerous.
When your level of blood sugar has been high for a longer period of time, the symptoms can include the following:
- Dark patches on the skin
- Feeling of numbness in the extremities or neuropathy
- Foot pain
- Slow-healing of cuts and sores
- Yeast infections
If you possess one or two of the above symptoms, then you should immediately see your doctor. If left untreated, diabetes can become a life-threatening disease.
Diabetes could also affect your heart. Women who are suffering from diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from another heart attack after suffering the first time. They are four times at high risk of developing heart failure as compared to those who don’t have the condition. Diabetes may also trigger complications during pregnancy.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet
Diet plays an important role in making your heart healthy and in keeping your blood sugar level within the safe range. Your diet does not really need to be complicated. The diet recommendation for those with Type 2 Diabetes is pretty much the same as what everyone else follows. It just requires doing the following:
- Always eat meals and snacks on time.
- Avoid overeating.
- Eat different varieties of foods that are rich in nutrients but with less empty calories.
- Make it a habit to read food labels closely.
Foods to Eat
Healthy carbohydrates are the best foods to eat since they provide you with enough fiber. These include the following:
- Whole grains
You must also include heart-healthy foods in your diet, which contains Omega 3 Fatty acids:
You can obtain healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from several foods, which include the following:
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
Remember that although these fat options are good for you, they are still rich in calories. Thus, moderation is the key when it comes to eating these kinds of foods. If you need to eat dairy products, always opt for the low-fat options.
Foods to Avoid
There are certain foods that a diabetic person must avoid entirely and these are the following:
- Baked goods
- Foods filled with trans fats
- Foods rich in saturated fats
- Fried foods
- High-fat dairy products
- Organ meats, such as liver
- Processed Meats
- Processed snacks
- Salty foods
- Stick margarine
- Sugary drinks
You can seek help from your doctor in achieving your calorie goals and personal nutrition goals. Both of you can work together on creating a diet plan that will not only suit your lifestyle and needs but something that your appetite will also love.
Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is a type of condition that is manageable. As soon as you’re diagnosed as having diabetes, you can work with your physician on developing a treatment to help you stay healthy.
There are three most common types of diabetes and these are the Gestational Diabetes, Type 1, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes. You probably heard of someone who was told that they have developed diabetes while pregnant. This condition is actually known as gestational diabetes and this condition could develop at the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. This diabetes could eventually go away after giving birth.
- Type 1 Diabetes. If you have a friend who was told they are diabetic since childhood and has to take insulin every day, then he or she is suffering from Type 1 Diabetes. The peak of this condition is at the mid-teens and according to the CDC, 5% of all diabetes cases are Type 1 diabetes.
- Type 2 Diabetes. 90 to 95% of diabetes cases belong to the Type 2 Diabetes. This type of diabetes is also known as “adult-onset” diabetes. This condition could happen at any age, however, it is more common among people who are 45 years old and above.
If you believe you are suffering from diabetes, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about it. Remember that uncontrolled diabetes could lead to severe complications, including the following:
- Amputation of the legs and feet
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
As stated by the CDC, diabetes is now the 7th leading cause of deaths across the United States. Some of the most severe side effects of this disease could be avoided with proper treatment. This is why early diagnosis of the disease is extremely important.
How Doctors Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes
Some of the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes could gradually develop. Since you may or may not be showing any symptoms, your doctor will need to use blood tests to diagnose you of the condition. These tests will measure the amount of glucose or sugar present in your blood:
- Fasting plasma glucose
- Glycated hemoglobin test, also known as the A1Ctest
- Oral glucose tolerance
- Random plasma glucose
Your doctor may need to conduct one or more of the above tests in order to confirm your condition.
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
The fasting plasma glucose test measures the level of sugar in your blood at a single point at a time. Values of the blood sugar are expressed in mg/DL or mg per deciliter. It’s important to note that if your sick or stressed, your blood sugar level could also be affected.
After the test, your physician will review the results and here’s what it could mean:
- Fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/DL = you are normal
- Fasting blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/DL = you’re at the pre-diabetes stage
- Fasting blood sugar is 126 mg/DL and higher = you have diabetes
Glycated Hemoglobin Test
The Glycated Hemoglobin test, also known as the A1C test, is a long-term blood sugar control test. This test allows your physician to determine what your average blood sugar level is in the past 2 to 3 months. The test will measure the percentage of the blood sugar that’s attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin refers to the oxygen-carrying protein found in your red blood cells. The higher the results of your A1C, the higher your recent blood sugar level will turn out.
The Glycated Hemoglobin test is not really as sensitive as the oral glucose tolerance test or the plasma glucose test. What this means is that it only identifies lesser cases of diabetes. Your doctor may need to send your samples to a laboratory to be diagnosed. It could take longer before the results will be obtained as compared to those tests done in your doctor’s clinic.
The biggest benefit of undergoing an A1C test is convenience. With this test, there’s no need to fast beforehand. It’s possible to collect the blood samples at any time of the day. Furthermore, the results of the test will not be affected even if you’re sick or stressed.
Here’s what the results of the A1C test could mean:
- The A1C result of 6.5% and higher = you have diabetes
- The A1C result is between 5.7% and 6.4% = you’re at the pre-diabetes stage
- The A1C result that’s less than 5.7%= you are normal
This method of testing is also used in monitoring your blood sugar after you are diagnosed to have diabetes. In fact, if you have diabetes, doctors recommend that your A1C levels be checked several times in a year.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
Just like the fasting plasma glucose, oral glucose tolerance test will also require that you fast the night before. Once you arrive for the test, they will immediately take the test of your blood sugar and you’ll be asked to ingest a sugary liquid. After the test is over, your doctor will periodically test your blood sugar levels for hours.
In preparing for this test, it’s recommended that you eat about 150 grams of carbohydrates every day for the next 3 days prior to the test. You can eat plenty of bread, pasta, potatoes, and cereal. Make sure you inform your doctor if you’re feeling sick or if you’re stressed. Your doctor must also be aware of all the medications you are currently talking. Illness, stress, and medications can all affect the results of this test.
Here is what your results could mean for this test:
- Blood sugar level is at 200 mg/DL or more after 2 hours = you have diabetes
- Blood sugar level is between 140 to 199 mg/DL after 2 hours = you’re at the pre-diabetes stage
- Blood sugar level is less than 140 mg/DL after 2 hours = this is normal
Glucose tolerance test is also used to diagnose gestational diabetes among pregnant women.
Random Plasma Glucose Test
The random glucose test is used for those who have been showing some symptoms of diabetes. This test can be performed any time of the day and will require looking at your blood sugar without taking into consideration the foods you have eaten previously.
Regardless of the type of food, you have eaten earlier, a result of 200 mg/DL or above means, you are suffering from diabetes. This is especially true if you’re already showing symptoms of the disease.
Here is what the test results should mean:
- Random blood sugar result of 200 mg/DL or more = you have diabetes
- Random blood sugar level that’s between 140 and 199 mg/DL = you’re at the pre-diabetes stage.
- Random blood sugar result of less than 140 mg/DL = you are normal
Getting a Second Opinion
You can always get a second opinion if you are doubtful of the result of your tests. If you decide to change your doctor, you may want to request for new tests to be conducted. Different doctors use different laboratories in processing samples. Sometimes, it can be misleading to compare results coming from different labs. Keep in mind that your doctor may ask you to undergo certain test again in order to confirm your diagnosis.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Your pancreas produces insulin in your body, which is a naturally occurring hormone. It will then release it once you eat because it will help to transport sugar coming from your bloodstream to the various parts of your body where it will be converted to energy.
If you’re suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, your body will immediately become resistant to insulin. This means that your body will not be able to use the hormone efficiently. As a result, your pancreas will be forced to work harder in order to produce more insulin. Eventually, the cells in your pancreas will be damaged until your pancreas can no longer produce insulin.
If your body is not producing enough insulin or if your body can no longer use the insulin efficiently, glucose could build up in your bloodstream and will leave your body cells starving for energy.
Doctors are still not aware of what exactly causes these series of events.
This may have something to do with the dysfunction of the cells in your pancreas or with the signaling and regulation of the cells. There are some people whose liver produces too much sugar and others are genetically predisposed to develop the condition. Genetic predisposition to obesity may also increase the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance. Environmental factors could also trigger the condition in some.
Most likely, the causes of Type 2 Diabetes could be a combination of the different factors that increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Researches into the causes of diabetes are still currently going on.
Medications for Type 2 Diabetes
In some instances, lifestyle changes can greatly help to keep Type 2 Diabetes under control. If not, certain medications may be able to help.
Some of the medications used in treating diabetes are:
- Dipeptidyl peptidase. These are milder medications that can help to reduce your blood sugar levels
- Glucagon-like peptide. This helps to slow down digestion and improve your level of blood sugar.
- Meglitinides or glinides. These are fast-acting and short-duration medications that can help to stimulate your pancreas in order to produce more insulin.
- Metformin. This helps to lower your level of blood sugar and improve the way your body processes insulin.
- Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2. This helps to prevent the kidney from reabsorbing sugar to the blood and instead, sends them into your urine.
- Sulfonylureas. This medicine helps your body to produce more insulin.
- Thiazolidinediones. This medication can make your body to be more sensitive to insulin
Remember that each of the medications mentioned above might lead to some side effects. It could take awhile before you can find the best medications or a combination of medications that can help to treat your diabetes.
If your cholesterol level or blood pressure is also a problem, then you need to take medications that could address these problems as well.
If your body is not capable of producing enough insulin, undergoing insulin therapy may be necessary for you. Otherwise, you can take long-acting injections or take insulin several times in a day.
Type 2 Diabetes in Kids
The cases of Type 2 Diabetes among kids are becoming a growing problem. The American Diabetes Association has estimated that there are 208,000 Americans who are less than 20 years old who have been suffering from diabetes.
The reason behind this may be complex, but the risk factors include the following:
- Being overweight and having a BMI that’s above the 85th percentile.
- A birth weight of 9 lbs. or more
- Being American Indian, African-American, Alaska Native, Asian-American, Latino, or Pacific Islander
- Born to a mother who suffers from gestational diabetes when pregnant
- Have a close family member suffering from type 2 diabetes
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes among kids:
- Areas of darkened skin
- Blurry vision
- Excessive hunger
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent infections
- Increased urination
- Sores that take time to heal
Make sure you take your child to the doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms above. Untreated diabetes could lead to serious consequences and could put your child at high risk for life-threatening complications.
A random blood sugar test performed on your child can help to reveal if he or she is suffering from a high blood sugar level. On the other hand, the hemoglobin A1C test can help to provide further details about your child’s level of blood sugar in a few months. A fasting blood sugar test may also be required for your child.
If the doctor diagnoses your child as having diabetes, the doctor might need to determine if it’s Type 2 or Type 1 before prescribing medications or treatment. You can also help to lower the diabetes risk of your child by encouraging him or her to eat healthily and to exercise regularly.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
Although it’s not yet understood what causes diabetes exactly, there are certain factors that could put you at high risk of developing the disease.
Below are the factors that are out of your control:
- Women who have suffered from a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome are at high risk of developing the disease.
- You could develop type 2 Diabetes regardless of your age, but your risk gets higher as you get older. Diabetes risk is particularly high after the age of 45.
- Your risk is higher if you have a sister, a brother, or a parent who was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes.
Below are factors that you could possibly change:
- Eating plenty of junk foods or eating too much could wreak havoc on your level of blood glucose.
- If you’re overweight, there are more fatty tissues in your body, which will make your body cells to be more resistant to insulin. Having extra fat on your abdomen could also increase your risk.
- Your risk of developing diabetes is higher if you are living a sedentary lifestyle. Exercising regularly can help to use the glucose fast and makes your cells to be able to better respond to insulin.
Hypoglycemia is a condition that happens if your blood sugar is extremely low. Some of the symptoms include dizziness, shakiness, and difficulty of speaking. The condition can be remedied by having a “quick fix” drink or food, such as hard candy, fruit juice, or soft drink.
Hyperglycemia is a condition that happens if your blood sugar level becomes extremely high. This condition is often characterized by increased thirst and frequent urination. Exercising can help to lower your level of blood sugar.
Complications During and After Pregnancy
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes when pregnant, it’s important that you closely monitor your condition. Poorly controlled diabetes could lead to the following:
- Complicated child labor and delivery.
- Increase your child’s risk of getting diabetes during his or her entire lifetime.
- Make your baby gain too much weight.
- Prevent your baby’s organs from developing.
12 Ways to Prevent Diabetes
There may be some factors that you can’t change when it comes to diabetes risks, such as your past behaviors, age, and genes, there are still plenty of ways that you can do to somehow lower your chances of developing diabetes.
Cut Down on Sugar and Refined Carbs
Eating lots of sugary foods and those foods that are rich in refined carbs could put you at high risk of developing diabetes. Your body could break down these foods into small sugar molecules and are then absorbed into the bloodstream. The resulting increase in blood sugar could trigger your pancreas to produce more insulin.
For those who are at the pre-diabetes stage, the body cells are often resistant to the insulin’s action and no sugar will remain high in your blood. To compensate for this, the pancreas will end up producing more insulin in an attempt to bring your blood sugar to a healthy level. Eventually, this could trigger an increase in your insulin and blood sugar and will eventually progress to Type 2 Diabetes.
Work Out Regularly
Working out regularly may help to prevent you from developing diabetes. Regular exercise could enhance your cells’ insulin sensitivity.
With regular exercise, less insulin will be required to keep your blood sugar level under control. In one study done on people who have pre-diabetes, it was found that moderate to intensity exercises have increased their insulin sensitivity to 51% while high-intensity exercises have increased to 85%. However, the effect only occurred during the workout days.
There are several types of physical activities that have been shown to minimize insulin resistance and controls blood sugar among the obese, overweight and pre-diabetic individuals. Some examples are aerobic exercises, strength training, and high-intensity interval training.
Drink Water a Lot
Water is the healthiest beverage you can drink and making it your primary beverage can also help to minimize your risk of developing diabetes. Sticking with water a lot of times can also help you to avoid drinking beverages that are high in sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Sugary beverages such as punch and soda are linked to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Lose Weight If You’re Overweight
Although not all people who have Type 2 Diabetes are obese or overweight, most are. Furthermore, those who have pre-diabetes often carry excess weight around their abdominal organs, such as liver, and around their midsection.
Although losing small weight could help to minimize your risk, studies have shown that the more you lose weight, the more benefits you will experience.
Smoking is said to be one of the causes of diabetes. It could also lead to several other serious conditions, such as cancer, heart diseases, and many more. There are researches that have linked smoking and second-hand smoking to Type 2 Diabetes. In a study that involves more than one million people, it has been found that smoking can help to increase diabetes risk up to 44% among average smokers and 61% to those who are used to smoking more than 20 cigarettes every day.
Follow a Very-Low-Carb Diet
Following a low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet, can also help to greatly minimize your risk of developing diabetes. Although there are many other diets that can help to promote weight loss, low-carb diets have been shown to also help in reducing your risk of diabetes. The diet has been
Watch Portion Sizes
Whether you will follow a low-carb diet or not, avoid eating large portions of food if you want to lower your risk of developing diabetes especially if you’re obese or overweight. Eating food in big portion has been shown to trigger an increase in the level of insulin and blood sugar. On the other hand, eating small portion sizes of a meal can help to prevent diabetes from developing.
Avoid Sedentary Behaviors
Try to avoid a sedentary behavior if you want to minimize your risk of developing diabetes. If you’re going to get a very little amount of physical activity and would rather sit around all day, then you’re living a sedentary lifestyle that could put you at risk of developing diabetes.
Several studies have shown a consistent link between having a sedentary behavior to the risk of developing diabetes.
A large number of studies found that those who spend the highest amount of their time each day in sedentary behavior are at 91% risk of developing diabetes.
To avoid this, make it a habit to stand up from your desk and walk around for a few minutes every day.
Eat a High-Fiber Diet
Eating lots of fiber is good for gut health as well as for weight management.
Studies done among obese individuals have shown that eating a diet rich in fiber can help to keep the insulin level low, as well as the blood sugar. Fiber is available in different categories, which include insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water, while soluble fiber does.
Upon reaching the digestive tract, the soluble fiber, along with water, will form a gel that can help to slow down the rate in which the body absorbs food. This will lead to a more gradual increase in your level of blood sugar.
Optimize Vitamin D
Vitamin D is extremely important for controlling blood sugar level. Several studies have found that people who are not getting enough Vitamin D are at greater risk of all kinds of diabetes. Thus, several health organizations would recommend maintaining enough level of Vitamin D. In one study, those with the highest amount of Vitamin D on their blood are 43% less likely to end up with diabetes.
Minimize Your Intake of Processed Foods
One effective step you can take to help improve your health is to minimize your intake of processed foods. These types of foods are linked to all kinds of health problems including obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes.
Drink Coffee or Tea
Although water is the recommended primary beverage when it comes to lowering your risk of diabetes, research shows that adding tea or coffee in your diet can greatly help to avoid diabetes. Some studies have also suggested that drinking coffee daily can help to lower your risk of developing diabetes to 54% and the biggest effect is generally seen in people who have the highest consumption of coffee or tea.
As discussed above, there are many things that you can control in order to minimize your risk of developing diabetes. Instead of getting concerned about having pre-diabetes, consider it as a motivation to make positive changes that can help to lower your risk of the disease. It simply requires eating the right type of foods and living a lifestyle that promotes a healthy level of insulin and blood sugar.