Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a problem in which the blood sugar levels rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia or insulin dependent diabetes. Type -2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It has various causes and symptoms. About 27 million Americans are suffering with Diabetes mellitus type-2.
If you have type-2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin. Insulin is important for blood cells to open for glucose to enter. But due to lack of insulin cells do not open. The sugar gets collected in the blood. This is called insulin resistance or type -2 diabetes.
Some common symptoms are
- Increased thirst: Increased blood sugar can make diabetics dehydrated making them thirsty over and over again.
- Frequent urination: Due to excessive thirst, diabetics drink more water so they have more urination.
- Unexplained weight loss: The body is not able to utilize glucose for energy. The body uses fat to extract energy causing weight loss.
- Increased hunger: Diabetics are unable to use glucose so they need more food for glucose. So they start feeling hungry all the time since cells starve for glucose.
- Wounds that do not heal: Increased blood sugar levels affect circulation. When blood flow to injured tissue does not happen, wounds do not heal fast.
Causes of diabetes type-2
People generally develop this type of diabetes due to lifestyle and genetic factors. Some of these factors can be controlled. But factors such as age, female gender, and genetics cannot be controlled.
Lifestyle factors are key to leading to the disease. Obesity and overweight, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress and urbanization can be some factors that might cause this type -2 diabetes. Most cases of this disease are due to excess weight.
Consumption of sugared drinks in excess, can increase the risk. Saturated and trans fats inclusion in the diet can also lead to the disease. It is better eating foods that contain poly saturated and mono saturated foods.
Most cases of diabetes involve many genes. Each can be a contributor to one becoming a diabetic. Identical twins develop diabetes more easily than non identical twins. More than 36 genes have been known to cause diabetes.
There are many medical problems and medications that contribute to diabetes too.
How to treat type -2 diabetes
- Eating healthy
- Regular exercise
- Diabetes medication or insulin therapy
These can help your blood sugar levels normal.
1) Healthy eating
It is important to eat a high fiber diet, low in fat. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains must consist your diet. You need to eat fewer animal products, refined carbs, and sweets.
Carbs give you the fuel. They affect your blood sugar levels faster than protein and fats. You get them from fruit, dairy ,bread, cereal and pasta and starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, beans etc,. Some carbs are simple like sugar, but not good.
Complex carbs present in beans, bread, nuts and whole grains are good as they take longer for your body to digest. They give you steady energy and fiber. Counting grams of carbohydrates and splitting them between meals can help to control blood pressure. If you eat more carbs than your insulin supply can handle, your blood sugar level goes up.
You get fiber from fruits vegetables, whole grains nuts, beans legumes. It can help with digestion and blood sugar control.
Diabetes is connected with heart disease. Hence limit the intake of saturated fats and trans fats. The main sources of saturated fats are cheese, high fat milk, beef and baked and processed foods. Avoid these unhealthy fats to control blood sugar, which in turn controls type-2 diabetes.
Eat foods such as lean meat, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds. Also decrease the artificial dressings and pickled foods.
2) Physical activity
Everyone needs exercise and someone with diabetes also need some or the other kind of activity. Choose activities like swimming, walking and hiking that you enjoy to keep blood sugar levels under control. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for five times a week can do good to you.
Stretching and strength training exercises are important too. Even if you have not started, start now. You may have to eat a snack before you go ahead with exercise to prevent low blood sugar if you have diabetes.
3) Diabetes medication and insulin therapy
People with type 2 diabetes can have their blood sugar levels in control with diet. But diabetic medications or insulin therapy is needed. You may have to use the drugs prescribed by the doctor. Your doctor may also prescribe insulin to inject throughout the day and night.
Diabetes mellitus type-2 is also a disease that needs attention and treatment. It cannot be neglected. Proper diet and exercise are needed for controlling diabetes.
By Pradeepa Polineni