Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. While diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, some groups have a higher risk for developing this type of diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.With this type of diabetes either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause a number of problems:Your cells are starved for energy. (One of symptoms of diabetes is that you feel abnormally tired.) See
The risk of heart disease and stroke increases. Also, problems associated with poor blood circulation increase with diabetes.Your kidneys are at risk.Eye complications. People with diabetes can go blind. Attention to problems with your eyes is very important if you have diabetes.People with diabetes are at risk for gum problems due to poor circulation of the blood. Practicing good oral hygiene is even more important if you have diabetes.Damage to nerves, also called neuropathy is a very common complication of diabetes.Foot complications are more evident with people who have diabetes. Again this is mostly due to poor blood circulation.Skin complications are often one of the first signs that someone is suffering from diabetes. Almost one-third of people with diabetes have some kind of skin disorder caused by diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Managing does not mean doing without. Some myths associated with diabetes:People with diabetes can''t eat sweets or chocolates. Absolutely not true. You can eat sweets. You only have to incorporate them in a healthy lifestyle eating plan.Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. Again, not true. Diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. But, what is true is that people who are overweight and who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more susceptible to diabetes.People with diabetes should only eat diabetic food. There''s nothing special about diabetic versions of food, except that they''re probably more expensive than their sweeter counterparts. You can eat the foods you like as long as you fit them into a well balanced nutrition program that is moderate in salt and sugar, low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat) and rich in whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit.You''re restricted to only small amounts of starchy food. Starchy foods are part of any good nutrition program. People with diabetes need to consider the portions of the the starchy foods they eat. Three to four servings of carbohydrate-containing food is usually just about right for people with diabetes.Managing type 2 diabetes means making some changes to how you live. Your doctor will ask you to eat healthy, be more active, lose weight if you need to, and quit smoking. Medications may be prescribed as well. It may seem like a lot to do. But keeping your blood sugar under control now can help reduce the risk of health problems from diabetes later. A central element in how you''ll manage your blood sugar is the food you choose to eat. Now more than ever you need to make the right food choices. See
If you haven''t been following a good nutrition plan, then it will be difficult to start doing so now, but like anything else it just take practice and a plan to start new habits. If you haven''t already done so, you might want to review the three-step change process (see
) to learn how to begin making and sticking to a healthy lifestyle plan.Along with changes to your diet, you''ll want to increase your activity level. When exercising, the body needs extra energy in the form of glucose for the muscles being exercised. By definition, with type 2 diabetes the body is unable to properly utilize insulin or doesn''t produce enough insulin to convert the glucose to energy. The consequence is that glucose levels rise and blood sugar is high. Your muscles can take up glucose at almost 20 times the normal rate which will help keep your blood sugar level in check.Both aerobic and
exercises are recommended to combat the effects of high glucose in the blood stream. However, it has also been found that after strenuous exercise glucose levels were higher and a small amount of insulin was needed to counterbalance the increase in glucose. Until you become familiar with the effects of both diet and exercise on your body, you''ll need to carefully monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure that you are not placing yourself any under undue risks.