Type 2 Diabetes

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Diabetes is a serious disease affecting millions and millions of people.  Type 1 diabetes is usually found in young people under  the age of 40.  With type 1 diabetes the body produces little or no insulin and the type 1 diabetic must inject insulin daily.

Type 2 diabetes  occurs very often as a result of ones lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle combined with a diet consisting of processed foods , junk foods and fast foods and lacking fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a recipe for developing type 2 diabetes.

Adults are usually the ones prone to type 2 diabetes although in recent years the disease has shown up in much younger people..  .

When your fasting glucose numbers reach between 100 and 125 you may be advised you are pre-diabetic.  If  you do not make changes to your lifestyle and continue your destructive habits it is very likely your pre-diabetes will develop into full blown type 2 diabetes.  With type 2 diabetes the pancreas is producing insulin, but either it is not enough or the body is not able to use the insulin effectively

However, if you do a little exercise most days (even just walking for 30 minutes) and combine this with a healthy diet you may be able to avoid moving from the pre-diabetic stage to type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Many people have type 2 diabetes and are not aware of the problem until damage has already been done to their body.

Some symptoms of type 2 diabetes are:

Infections of the kidneys, bladder or skin or other infections that occur frequently or are slow to heal

Yeast infections

Increased thirst and increased urination

Increased  hunger

Fatigue – feeling tired and irritable

Weight loss – even though you may be eating more than usual

Patches of darkened skin

Blurred vision

Tingling or numbness

If you suspect you might be diabetic consult your health care professional for a diagnosis, course of treatment and guidance.

Complications of Type 2 Diabetes

If not treated properly type 2 diabetes can led to serious unpleasant complications which may include:

Heart and blood vessel damage – it is important to keep your cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control.  You run the risk for a heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure

Neuropathy (nerve damage) – you may experience a tingling or burning or pain which usually starts at the tip of the toes or fingertips and moves upward.  You may lose the feeling in afflicted limbs

Damage to the kidney – may even cause kidney failure

Damage to your hearing

Damage to your feet – always have covering on your feet, apply skin moisturizer to keep skin from drying and cracking.  Check your feet for any sores or blisters or swelling and/or redness.  Consult your doctor for any problems.  Severe damage to the foot may cause the need for amputation of the foot, toe or leg.

Damage to your eyes which in severe cases may lead to blindness

Skin problems

You may be prone to gum infections so it is important to follow good hygiene and see your dentist on a regular basis

You may develop a weakened immune system so it is important to keep all immunizations up to date

You may also be at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

In addition to your primary doctor your team of medical experts for someone with type 2 diabetes may include consultation with a dietitian who can teach you the proper way to eat to control your diabetes.  A podiatrist can keep watch for any foot problems and an

eye doctor can monitor for any developing eye problems.  You may also require the services of  a kidney doctor or a neurologist.

You will need to self monitor your glucose levels to be sure they are not too high or too low.  Some type 2 diabetics are able to keep their blood sugar levels in a good range by eating properly and engaging in some form of exercise.  Others need to take oral medications to keep their sugar level in check and still others may need to take insulin injections.

There are various types of oral medications used to treat type 2 diabetes.  Some may be effective at improving the way your body uses insulin.  Another may help your body produce more insulin.  There are other medications which help lower blood sugar levels.

If you are overweight make a serious commitment to cutting down on your food intake so you can reduce to a more normal size.  If you are a smoker make every effort to kick the habit.

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Glucose Levels

When you suffer from type 2 diabetes it  is important that  you monitor your blood glucose levels using a home monitoring system.

A blood glucose level under 140 is considered normal. However,  if you are diabetic then  in the morning before breakfast, after fasting all night, you blood glucose level may be between 90 and 130.  Two hours after eating your blood glucose level should be less than 180.

If your blood glucose levels drop too low this is known as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  Your blood sugar may drop too low if you skip a meal or if your are taking medication to lower blood sugar.  Signs of low blood sugar are headache, dizziness, slurred speech, heart palpations, blurred vision, confusion and possibly seizures.  If you have signs of low blood sugar eat or drink something that will raise your blood sugar level quickly.  Then test your blood glucose level after about 15 minutes to be sure the blood sugar level is back within normal range.

Your health care professional will advise  you what blood glucose levels are acceptable for you.

Several times a year when your health care professional does your blood work he will most likely take an A1C test.  The A1C test gives an average of your blood sugar levels over a 3 month period.  This number should be less than 7 percent for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.  Those without the disease should have a lower A1C reading.

Eating

When you have received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes you may think you can never again indulge in a piece of candy or cake or pie or some other sweet.  This is not the case.  You may have a sweet treat on occasion, maybe once or twice a week, depending on how well you are controlling  your blood sugar level each day.

It is important to plan your meals daily so that you keep  your blood sugar levels on an even keel.  You do not want your sugar levels to spike, nor do you want them to drop too low.

Most people find it works well to eat 3 meals plus 2 snacks each day.  When  planning your meals you want to include approximately the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and you want to develop a regular time  schedule for eating  your meals each day.

In order to properly track the amount of food you are consuming at each meal or snack it is important to weigh or measure your foods.  If you are overweight and trying to slim down you need to keep track of the calories you consume each day.  Your health care professional will guide you toward your weight loss goals.

There are two different methods you can use when planning your meals.  One is the plate method.  When you use this method you divide your plate in half.  One half is filled with non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, etc.  The second half of the plate is then divided into two sections.  One section should contain a protein such as meat or fish.  The third section should contain a starch such as brown rice or sweet potato.  To finish off the meal you may add a piece of fruit and some dairy.

The second method is to count the grams of carbohydrates you consume at each meal or snack.  Your dietition will give you the actual grams that are right for you, a general rule of thumb is 45-60 grams of carbs at each meal for women and 60-75 grams of carbs for men at each meal.  Snacks should run about 15-30 grams of carbs.

If you read the label on your food you can find the amount of total carbohydrates per serving for that particular food.

If you do not have a food label to obtain the amount of carbs in a food here are some general  guidelines for foods and their carb counts:

One carb choice equals 15 grams of carbs:

Breads, Grains and Starchy Vegetables

1 slice of bread

½ English muffin, ½ hotdog or hamburger roll, ½ small bagel or ¼ large bagel

½ cup cooked cereal

1/3 cup cooked rice

1 small potato

1//2 cup starchy vegetable such as corn, lima beans or peas

1/2 cup lentils or beans

Dairy

1 cup nonfat milk

1 cup light yogurt

Fruit

1 small fresh fruit

1 small or ½ large banana

½ cup canned fruit or juice

1 cup berries

Non-starchy vegetables

3 servings of non-starchy vegetables is equal to one carb

1 cup raw vegetables or 1//2 cup cooked vegetables is equal to one carb serving

There are many resources online and many books available which will give you the carb count for any food you want to eat.

Protein foods such as meat, fish and eggs do not contain any grams of carbohydrates.  These should be limited to approximately 4 to 6 ounces per day.

Other food such as butter or margarine, mayonnaise, olive oil. peanut butter and nuts do not contain carbohydrates, but you do need to be careful and limit these foods because of their fat content.

It is much  easier to track your food when you are preparing it at home.  If you decide on a menu for the week you can then do your grocery shopping and purchase whatever items you may need to prepare the menu you have selected.  Just because you have diabetes does not mean you cannot have a delicious variety of meals.  You just need to do some investigation and find recipes which will be healthy for you  and please your palate.

You want to include whole grains, lean meat or perhaps seafood, green leafy vegetables, fat free or low fat dairy and fruit.  Avoid the processed foods.  If you are cooking for a family they can eat the same foods you prepare for yourself you simply need to be careful of your portions.

There is no reason why you cannot enjoy some meals out in a restaurant.  Try to keep the type foods you prepare at home in mind.  That is lean protein, a little starch and a larger srving of non-starchy vegetables.  Avoid foods that have rich sauces or are smothered in cheese.  Opt for something that is grilled or broiled.  If it is possible go online and review the menu for a new restaurant before leaving home.  That way you can have a good idea of what to order.  Sometimes it helps to be the first person in your group to place your order.  This way you are not tempted to change your mind about ordering something healthy because you hear someone else order something unhealthy that sounds good.

Even with diabetes it is okay to have an occasional alcoholic drink or an occasional sweet treat unless your doctor has forbidden it.

There are many resources available for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes.  The American Diabetes Association is an excellent resource.  There are also free programs online which will give you not only the carb count for most any food, but the calorie count and other nutrient counts as well.  In fact, some of these sites have programs created for the diabetic and they will create meal plans for you together with shopping lists.

Living a healthy, productive life with type 2 diabetes means paying attention to your lifestyle and incorporating exercise together with eating a healthy diet each day.  If you are overweight slim down and if you smoke quit.  If you indulge in too much alcohol then limit it.  It is up to you to do everything possible to maintain a good quality of life and avoid the serious complications which can arise if you do not take your diabetes seriously and take care of yourself.  No one can do it for you,  Others can give you the guidance you need, but it is up to you to follow through,