What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Managing your blood sugar is one of the most important things you can do to support your health, and achieve weight loss, if that is one of your goals.
When you eat high sugar foods or processed carbohydrates (also referred to as high Glycemic Index or high Glycemic Load foods), the body breaks down the carbohydrates in those foods (or beverages) and turns it into glucose. High levels of sugar in the blood (blood glucose) are dangerous, and so your body responds by triggering the pancreas to release insulin to remove this sugar safely out of the blood and store it in the cells.
Type 2 Diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. It is considered a metabolic disease, that accounts for 90-95% of cases of diabetes, and is often associated with obesity.
It is characterised by:
- High Blood Glucose Levels: When testing blood glucose levels, it is important that both fasting blood glucose as well as post-meal blood glucose levels are assessed. This is because, some people with type 2 diabetes have normal fasting blood glucose levels, but once they consume a meal, their blood glucose does not return to normal levels quite as fast as expected.
- Insulin Resistance: In type 2 Diabetes, cells become less responsive to the action of insulin, leading to raised blood glucose levels.
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition which develops if your body is no longer responding effectively to its own insulin, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. The good news is that it can be managed and even reversed.
Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes include:
- Lack of exercise and sedentary way of life
- Eating a Western Diet
- High blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
- Family history
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to type 1 diabetes. However, in type 2 diabetes, symptoms may be milder initially, and become progressively worse over time. They include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of cuts
Type 2 diabetes is a debilitating condition. The chronic high blood glucose levels results in various complications including, but not limited to:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Nerve damage
- Diabetic retinopathy (retina or eye become damages)
- Kidney disease
- Foot ulcers
- Sexual dysfunction
- Miscarriage and still-birth
Weight Management and Diabetes
One of the most important contributing factors to Type 2 diabetes is obesity. For every 1 Kg increase in weight, the risk of diabetes increases by 4.5-9%. Therefore, one key strategy for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes is obesity management.
Exercise can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes through contributing to weight loss as part of a weight management plan, and helping with the management of blood glucose levels by increasing the sensitivity of cells to insulin.