Type 2 diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels rise above normal. It’s also known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
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What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diabetes. It is a condition in which the body cannot use insulin effectively for bringing glucose to cells. This makes your body rely on alternative energy sources in your tissues, muscles, and organs. Type 2 diabetes progresses slowly, exhibiting only mild symptoms at first, like lack of energy, constant hunger, weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination, blurry vision, and itchy skin. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can worsen with time and cause yeast infections, slow down the healing of cuts and sores, cause foot pain, dark patches on skin and a feeling of numbness.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be so mild you don’t notice them. In fact, about 8 million people who have it don’t know it. Symptoms type 2 diabetes include;
- Being very thirsty
- Peeing a lot
- Blurry vision
- Being cranky
- Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- Feeling worn out
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Yeast infections that keep coming back
What causes type 2 diabetes?
When you’re healthy, the pancreas (an organ behind the stomach) releases insulin to help your body store and use sugar from the food you eat. Diabetes happens when one or more of the following occurs:
- Your pancreas doesn’t make any insulin.
- Your pancreas makes very little insulin.
- Your body doesn’t respond as it should to insulin
Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes make insulin. But the insulin of their pancreas secretes either isn’t enough or their body can’t recognise the insulin and use it properly (doctors call this insulin resistance).
When there isn’t enough insulin or the insulin isn’t used as it should be, glucose (sugar) can’t get into your cells. It builds up in your bloodstream instead. This can damage many areas of the body. Also, since cells aren’t getting the glucose they need, they don’t work like they should.
What are the complications of type 2 diabetes?
You may have type 2 diabetes if you experience 2 or more of the above symptoms. Management of type 2 diabetes is to prevent the progression of the disease. Unmanaged type 2 diabetes can lead to life-threatening conditions-which we are going to discuss in this article.
6 major type 2 diabetes complications
In case you failed to manage type 2 diabetes with the aforementioned remedies, it can lead to the following complications:
- Vision problems: Vision problems are common in people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can cause damage to tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This can increase the risk of glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. These conditions can lead to vision loss.
- Nerve damage: Diabetic neuropathy or risk for nerve damage and pain increases if you have type 2 diabetes. It can affect your hands and feet. Symptoms include numbness, tingling or burning, stabbing pain, vision problems, weakness and loss of balance.
- High blood pressure: Unmanaged type 2 diabetes can put you at risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Check your blood pressure regularly if you have type 2 diabetes and follow a low-sodium diet.
- Foot ulcers: Damage to nerves and poor blood circulation can lead to foot problems like foot ulcers. These foot ulcers can sometimes be infected. A serious infection may have foot or leg amputation. To avoid foot ulcers, diabetics should keep their feet clean and dry. Wear comfortable, breathable socks. Check your feet regularly for sores, red patches, and blisters and contact your doctor immediately for any foot problems.
- Kidney damage: Unmanaged blood sugar levels can lead to kidney problems. It can affect the kidney’s ability to filter waste and damage kidneys. Blood sugar control is thus an important part of managing type 2 diabetes. The same can be done by following a proper diet, avoiding refined sugar, refined carbs, and overeating.
- Poor oral health: Unmanaged type 2 diabetes can lead to poor oral health. The condition damages small blood vessels, including the ones that nourish your teeth and gums. They can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum infections, etc. Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent poor oral health caused by type 2 diabetes.
How to reverse type 2 diabetes?
Following are 9 effective ways to reverse type 2 diabetes;
- Lose weight and work towards managing a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly and include strength training in your workout routine
- Sleep well and try to have a good night’s sleep
- Restrict intake of refined carbs in bread, pasta, deep-fried junk and processed food
- Include fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds in your diet
- Avoid the intake of sugary foods and desserts
- Do not take the stress
- Be physically active
- Practice intermittent fasting
How weight loss can reverse type 2 diabetes?
Losing weight can have a tremendous impact on the management of type 2 diabetes. For losing weight, you need to restrict calorie consumption. In the study, a daily intake of 700 calories was done for 8 weeks. This was found to be associated with remission of type 2 diabetes in nearly 9 out of 10 people who were recently diagnosed with diabetes and half of the people with longstanding disease.
5 effective tips to lose weight if you have type 2 diabetes
- Try intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting involves eating early dinners around 7 or 8 pm, and then fasting for 12 or 14 or 16 hours till you have your next meal. Intermittent fasting can not only detox your body, but can also help you lose weight sustainably.
- Reduce your intake of carbs: Foods that are rich in refined carbs like deep-fried, junk and processed food result in a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and also weight gain. You need to switch to healthier carbs like the ones in fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils and legumes. Reducing your intake of carbs can help with quick weight loss.
- Get proper sleep: A proper sleep cycle plays an important role in type 2 diabetes management. Lack of sleep can disrupt your weight loss goals, increase mood swings and make you feel tired all day. Intermittent fasting and exercise can both help you have a good night’s sleep.
- Take less stress: Weight loss and type 2 diabetes management are both going to be difficult and delayed if you are stressed. Change your attitude towards stressful situations and indulge in activities that you enjoy for feeling less stressed. Yoga and meditation can also be helpful in reducing stress.
- Quit alcohol and smoking: Alcohol consumption is can worsen diabetes and also increase your calorie intake. Similar is with smoking, which is downright dangerous for your health. Quit these two habits for a type 2 diabetes management and effective weight loss.
Tests for type 2 diabetes diagnosis
- HbA1c: It’s like an average of your blood glucose over the past 2 or 3 months.
- Fasting plasma glucose: This measures your blood sugar on an empty stomach. You won’t be able to eat or drink anything except water for 8 hours before the test.
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): Also called GTT. This checks your blood glucose before and 2 hours after you drink a glucose drink to see how your body handles the sugar.
- Combination of all common type 2 diabetes test profile
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