Type 2 diabetes is a chronic health condition wherein excessive sugar accumulates in the bloodstream. Our pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. Also, insulin signals the body to absorb the glucose present in the bloodstream for energy production. This glucose moves to the cells for the required energy release with type 2 diabetes. However, these cells fail to respond to insulin signals, leading to excess glucose in the bloodstream. With time, even the insulin production levels go down.
Untreated type 2 diabetes can have various health consequences. Discussed below are six things you should know about Type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, the body can’t efficiently utilise insulin to carry sugar into the cells. As a result, the tissues, muscles, and organs depend on different energy sources. It is a series of events that can result in a range of symptoms. Type 2 diabetes may take a long time to develop. Initially, the symptoms seem small and simple to overlook.
Initial symptoms include:
- Constant hunger
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Blurred vision
- Numb or painful hands and fingers
The symptoms get worse as diabetes advances, and they can lead to inevitable, potentially harmful consequences. Problems can arise if the amount of blood sugar stays elevated for an extended period.
Long term diabetes results in symptoms like:
- Issues related to eyes (diabetic retinopathy)
- Numbness in your extremities (neuropathy)
- Kidney disease (nephropathy)
- Gum disease
- Heart attack or stroke
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. After eating food, the pancreas makes it and releases it. Insulin aids in moving glucose from the bloodstream to the body’s cells. There it is utilised for the release of energy.
With type 2 diabetes, the body becomes insulin resistant. Therefore, the body fails to respond to the signals sent by insulin. As a result, insulin does not get used effectively by the body. Consequently, the pancreas will have to work harder to produce more insulin. Gradually this starts to harm the cells present in your pancreas. It leads to the pancreas eventually becoming unable to release any insulin. Due to insufficient production of insulin or the failure of the body to use it effectively, accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream takes place.
People who are overweight or obese are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes. Being physically inactive adds to its development. As per studies, obesity is one of the primary causes of insulin resistance. Moreover, it is common amongst people with type 2 diabetes. The distribution of body fat is also essential. Excess abdominal fat correlates to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease.
Excess Glucose from Liver
If blood sugar falls below a certain level, the liver produces and releases glucose. After food consumption, blood sugar rises, and the liver generally slows down and stores the glucose for future use. However, the liver does not function like this for some people who are obese, with low insulin levels or have stress issues. As a result, they continue to produce sugar.
Damaged Beta cells
The primary function of the beta cell is to produce and release insulin to keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Beta cells are present in the pancreas and respond to blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes have beta cells working hard for producing sufficient insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, beta cells sometimes fail to manage blood sugar adequately due to increased pressure. As a result, this work overload results in damage to beta cells. As per research, this process leads to failure to produce enough insulin to check blood sugar.
Steps to Control Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes often have poor insulin resistance. You can control diabetes by engaging in regular physical exercise. Your pancreas needs to create more insulin for sugar to pass from the bloodstream to the cells. Exercise boosts insulin sensitivity in cells, so you’ll need less insulin to check your blood sugar levels.
A variety of physical activities can reduce insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. According to studies, HIIT and endurance training are particularly beneficial. Brisk walking and other exercises that take less than 10 minutes are ideal choices.
Consumption of a fibre rich diet helps with diabetes prevention. It is beneficial for gut health and weight reduction. Fibre, according to research, helps people with diabetes and obese people maintain low blood sugar and insulin levels. Soluble fibre and water interact in our digestive tract to form a gel that prevents food from being absorbed. As a result, there is a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Therefore, consuming more soluble fibre can help to reduce fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. Try incorporating fibre rich whole grains, beans and lentils, fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Stress prepares the muscles in our body to fight or run from probable danger. With type 2 diabetes, the insulin does not function normally. Because of improper insulin functioning, stress fills the bloodstream with glucose. Stress leads to pushing up blood sugar, increased blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease. Additionally, it would help if you avoid smoking. Smoking shrinks the blood vessels in addition to harming your lungs.
Diet for Type 2 Diabetes
Diet is a critical means for maintaining blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Choose a range of nutrient-dense meals that are minimal in empty calories. Make an effort to be careful of portion sizes. Avoid intake of food when you are full. Check the food labels carefully to determine the quantity of sugar or carbohydrates in a serving size.
Foods and Beverages to Restrict
Few food items type 2 diabetes patients should avoid. However, avoiding these food items will also be helpful for general weight reduction.
- Foods high in saturated or trans fats include red meat, cake, biscuit, bacon, puddings, and cheese
- Processed meats like hotdogs, ham and salami
- Refined baked goods like white bread, cakes, muffins, chips and crackers
- High-sugar, highly processed snacks such as ice cream, frozen yoghurt, candy, packaged cookies and sugary cereals
- Sugary drinks like regular soda and some fruit juices
Foods and Beverages to Consume
Carbs aren’t off the board because you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. However, carbohydrates that are good for you can give you energy and fibre. These include whole fruits, non-starchy vegetables, berries, legumes like lentils, peas and beans, whole grains like millets, oats or quinoa and sweet potatoes.
You can also consume fatty diets that include healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. Food items with omega-3 fatty acids include fish and other seafood such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardine, nuts and seeds like flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and plant oils like flaxseed oil and soybean oil.
If left untreated and undiagnosed, type 2 diabetes can result in severe health issues. It’s equally bad for people who poorly manage their sugar level even after getting diagnosed. As per studies, your blood glucose levels are persistently at 180 ml/dl or above; you have uncontrolled diabetes. Insulin fails to transport glucose into cells in diabetes patients. When blood sugar levels rise, it becomes harmful to your critical organs, causing them to deteriorate over time without your notice. Cardiovascular disease, diabetic eye disease, kidney disorder, nerve damage, hearing impairment, and a higher risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease are a few severe problems associated with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it’s critical to keep a constant check on blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels to reduce these risks.
Lack of Cure but Manageable
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition. There is no cure for any diabetes yet. It worsens over time when left untreated. However, this is not always the case. You can manage diabetes and related symptoms with a healthy diet, exercises, regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, and perhaps glucose-lowering medications.
Currently, reversing type 2 diabetes is simpler than type 1. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disease. Instead, it can worsen by various external factors and lifestyle practices. Autoimmune diseases are those diseases wherein our immune system attacks our own body under a mistake. Therefore, you can control type 2 diabetes with simple lifestyle and dietary changes. As a result, there’s a chance you’ll go into remission. Remission refers to a condition where medications are no longer required, along with stable blood glucose levels for one year. Type 2 diabetes control takes effort and self-care, but it is attainable.
You can prevent Type 2 Diabetes due to controlling blood sugar levels. In addition, you can take the help of medications after consultation with doctors. Early detection and treatment, a healthy lifestyle, and frequent checkups are paramount. If you are experiencing symptoms of type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to contact your doctor immediately and get diagnosed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What makes type 2 diabetes worse?
A: As you become older, your chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes grow. Increased weight and a sedentary lifestyle add to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, leaving diabetes untreated for long makes the symptoms worse. Diabetes can be prevented and managed by maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Q: Do all type 2 diabetes need insulin?
A: Patients of type 2 diabetes do not always and necessarily have to take insulin. People with prolonged type 2 diabetes are more likely to require insulin. Your blood sugar level might be significantly elevated, and the doctor may prescribe insulin to help you decrease it.
Q: Does lemon bring down blood sugar?
A: Lemon water helps avoid abrupt spikes in blood sugar levels. In all of its components, the lemon can assist in keeping blood sugar levels in balance. In addition, lemon peels inhibit enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes.
Q: What are the 3 risk factors for type 2 diabetes?
A: There are numerous risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. Three of them are overweight, old age and have a family history of diabetes. Excess weight increases the severity and risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, with age, many people face the failure of healthy functioning organs like the pancreas, increasing the risk of diabetes. It’s common to find people with a family history of type 2 diabetes to develop the same over time.
Q: What happens if you don’t treat type 2 diabetes?
A: If you do not treat type 2 diabetes, excessive blood sugar levels can harm the body’s cells and organs. Diabetic problems, if left untreated, may affect practically every part of your body, like your heart, kidneys, gums, blood vessels, eyes and nerves. It may result in death in extreme circumstances.
Q: Are bananas good for a diabetic?
A: Bananas are a healthy food option for diabetes patients. Bananas are digested slowly and prevent the sudden spike in blood sugar levels. It’s safe to consume small bananas twice or thrice a week. However, it would help if you avoided a daily intake of bananas.
Q: Is type 2 diabetes genetic?
A: There is no definite pattern indicating diabetes as a genetic disease. However, it’s common for people with diabetes also to have a parent suffering from the same. Generally, having type 2 diabetes risk rises with an increased number of diabetic family members.
Q: Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?
A: Although type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in older persons, a rise in the number of obese kids has increased type 2 diabetes incidence among children. Type 2 diabetes does not have a cure, but decreasing weight, living a healthy lifestyle, and exercising can keep it under control.
Q: What are the first two signs of type 2 diabetes?
A; While diabetes comes with numerous symptoms, two of the most common symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination.