Type 2 diabetes is a common medical condition that affects approximately 462 million people worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, the condition affects over 37 million American citizens. Even though it is more prevalent amongst people aged above 45 years, cases among the youth and young adults are increasing.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the two main causes of type 2 diabetes accounting for up to 95% of the United States cases. It results from the inability of the pancreas to generate enough insulin to break down blood sugar, which leads to its accumulation in the blood. Some cases may be because of the failure of the body to process insulin as expected actively. The accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream may cause damage to other body organs and lead to disorders related to the nervous, circulatory, and immune systems.
Therefore, the pancreas’ failure to release sufficient insulin to process blood sugar and the inability of the blood cells to interact with insulin are the main causes of type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
It takes time before one can realize that they might have type 2 diabetes. Some patients live with the condition for many years without a diagnosis. At the onset, the following are the common signs and symptoms.
The increased blood sugar levels tend to overwork the kidney as it works extra to rid the body of the excess sugar. As a result of this, the urge to urinate increases. This is especially common during the night.
As the person frequently urinates to rid the bloodstream of excess, more water is lost. As a result, you are likely to feel dehydrated and in need of a drink.
The body’s inability to process blood sugar means that the patients do not get much from their food. The body utilizes glucose as fuel to run various functions. Type 2 diabetes inhibits the movement of glucose from the bloodstream to other cells of the body to aid in executing other critical functions. Due to this, there is a constant urge to eat to replenish energy levels.
Your energy levels are affected due to the inability to process glucose in the bloodstream. With less blood sugar being supplied to the other cells of the body, you are likely to feel tired.
Experience blurry vision
With the body accommodating more sugar in the blood vessels than usual, the blood vessels found in the eyes can be damaged, blurring your vision. In severe cases, permanent loss of vision is possible.
Takes longer for cuts and wounds to heal
The excess blood sugar in your vessels and nerves hinders blood circulation. For this reason, it takes wounds from even small cuts longer to heal, which may lead to other infections.
There are other symptoms such as neuropathy, characterized by pain, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, formation of patches on the neck, groin or neck, and increased cases of other infections such as yeast infection.
Type 2 Diabetes in Children
Even though type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in senior adults, children and young adults are not spared. The CDC estimates that 10% of American children are overweight. With insulin resistance being more common amongst overweight people, there is a need for parents and caregivers to be watchful of their children’s lifestyles to protect them from this condition.
Parents should also ensure that a healthy diet is maintained and a proper lifestyle embraced. The causes and symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children and adults are the same. Parents should, therefore, occasionally check their children’s sugar levels and consult a doctor whenever they feel changes.
How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a lifetime medical condition with no known treatment. There are, however, numerous ways through which you can manage it. You can easily manage the condition by doing the following:
After you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing you need to do is accept the reality that you have the condition. It is the first step to healing. To keep your sugar levels in good standing, you must avoid situations that make you stressed. Instead of worrying, find things that make you happy and busy. Embrace a hobby such as gardening or walking to avoid stress.
When your blood sugar levels rise, you should be able to act swiftly to bring them down. Be prepared to constantly test and track the levels using a chart and know what to do under different circumstances.
A diabetes meal plan is essential because you will feel hungry more often than you are used to. Talk to a nutritionist to make a proper diabetes meal plan comprising the right foods low in sugar, salt, saturated fat, and calories but high in fiber like grain cereals, rice, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
You will frequent the washrooms with diabetes type 2. To ensure that you remain hydrated, drink lots of water. Avoid bottled drinks such as sodas and packaged juices. Instead, take fresh juices.
Embrace an active lifestyle
You need to work out regularly. Be active. If you can walk to the grocery store, why should you drive? Take leisurely evening walks, and join a health club or gym. This way, you will burn extra calories and increase blood circulation.
Quit bad habits
Quitting bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption takes effort, but you must do that to lead a normal life. If you need help, do not hesitate to contact experts.
Finally, you must remember to take your diabetes medicine as prescribed. The temptation to skip the drugs can be high, especially if you feel fine, but you should embrace it.
Recommended Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
Some patients cannot maintain the required blood sugar levels through exercise and diet. Doctors may prescribe some drugs to reduce your insulin levels in such instances. Some of the common medicines may include;
- Metformin: Enhances the body’s sensitivity to insulin and reduces glucose production.
- Sulfonylureas and Glinides: Helps increase insulin production by the body.
- Thiazolidinediones: Increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
- DPP-4 inhibitors: Effective for the reduction of blood sugar levels.
- GLP-1 receptor agonists: injections that help reduce sugar levels in the blood by slowing digestion.
- SGLT2 inhibitors: Inhibits the return of blood sugar to the bloodstream.
Each of the drugs mentioned above has unique side effects when used. Talk to your doctor and adhere to the prescription.
What are the Diets for Type 2 Diabetes?
The foods you choose to eat with type 2 diabetes are important. Foods rich in nutrients, vitamins, fibers, and minerals are essential. Do not forget to consume some good fats for the heart to lower cholesterol levels. High-fiber foods will boost the ability of the body to manage blood sugar.
The following foods are recommended:
- Vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
- Fruits such as oranges, melons, and peaches.
- Whole grains such as rice and oats.
- Legumes such as beans and lentils.
- Nuts such as walnuts, cashews, and macadamia.
- Protein-rich such as seafood and poultry.
- Foods that are good for your heart include avocados, sesame oil, and olive oil.
Some foods should be avoided, especially if they contain trans-fat, saturated fat, or added sugar. The following should therefore be limited.
- Fatty foods like pork or beef.
- Whole milk, cheese, and other full-fat dairy products.
- Sugar-rich foods like sweets, candies, and sweetened beverages like soda.
- Avoid processed foods like chips and processed meat.
Coming up with a diet plan is the surest way to maintain eating healthily. A dietitian can help you produce the best plan.
When Should You See a doctor?
Many people have type 2 diabetes without even knowing it. A proper diagnosis is necessary to determine that. Luckily, blood tests can be conducted at any laboratory nearby. If you experience any of the symptoms discussed earlier or notice your blood sugar levels are higher than 20.0 mmol/L, seek medical attention immediately.
Living with type 2 diabetes can be demanding for most people. You can, however, live and enjoy life with a few sacrifices about your lifestyle. Take the prescribed drugs, track your sugar levels, healthy eating and exercise. You will be fine.