Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a medical condition in which sugar, or glucose, levels build up in your bloodstream. There’s not enough insulin to move the sugar into your cells, which are where the sugar is used for energy. This causes your body to rely on alternative energy sources in your tissues, muscles, and organs.
This is a chain reaction that can cause a variety of symptoms. Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly. The symptoms may be mild and easy to dismiss at first.
The early symptoms may include:
- constant hunger
- a lack of energy
- weight loss
- excessive thirst
- frequent urination
- dry mouth
- itchy skin
- blurry vision
As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and potentially dangerous.
If your blood sugar levels have been high for a long time, the symptoms can include:
- yeast infections
- slow-healing cuts or sores
- dark patches on your skin
- foot pain
- feelings of numbness in your extremities, or neuropathy
If you have two or more of these symptoms, you should see your doctor. Without treatment, diabetes can become life-threatening.
Diabetes has a powerful effect on your heart. Women with diabetes are twice as likely to have another heart attack after the first one. They’re at quadruple the risk of heart failure when compared to women without diabetes. Diabetes can also lead to complications during pregnancy.
Diet for type 2 diabetes
Diet is an important tool to keep your heart healthy and blood sugar levels within a safe and healthy range. It doesn’t have to be complicated or unpleasant. The diet recommended for people with type 2 diabetes is the same diet just about everyone should follow. It boils down to a few key actions:
- Eat meals and snacks on schedule.
- Choose a variety of foods that are high in nutrition and low in empty calories.
- Be careful not to overeat.
- Read food labels closely.
Foods to choose
Healthy carbohydrates can provide you with fiber. The options include:
- legumes, such as beans
- whole grains
Foods with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids include:
You can get healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from a number of foods, including:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- peanut oil
Although these options for fat are good for you, they’re high in calories. Moderation is key. When choosing dairy products, choose low-fat options.
Foods to avoid
There are certain foods that you should limit or avoid entirely. These include:
- foods heavy in saturated fats
- foods heavy in trans fats
- processed meats
- organ meats, such as beef or liver
- stick margarine
- baked goods
- processed snacks
- sugary drinks
- high-fat dairy products
- salty foods
- fried foods
Talk to your doctor about your personal nutrition and calorie goals. Together, you can come up with a diet plan that tastes great and suits your lifestyle needs.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes
You can effectively manage type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will tell you how often you should check your blood glucose levels. The goal is to stay within a specific range.
Follow these tips to manage type 2 diabetes:
- Include foods rich in fiber and healthy carbohydrates in your diet. Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help keep your blood glucose levels steady.
- Eat at regular intervals
- Only eat until you’re full.
- Control your weight and keep your heart healthy. That means keeping refined carbohydrates, sweets, and animal fats to a minimum.
- Get about half an hour of aerobic activity daily to help keep your heart healthy. Exercise helps to control blood glucose, too.
Your doctor will explain how to recognize the early symptoms of blood sugar that’s too high or too low and what to do in each situation. Your doctor will also help you learn which foods are healthy and which foods aren’t.
Not everyone with type 2 diabetes needs to use insulin. If you do, it’s because your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin on its own. It’s crucial that you take insulin as directed. There are other prescription medications that may help as well.
Causes of type 2 diabetes
Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone. Your pancreas produces it and releases it when you eat. Insulin helps transport sugar from your bloodstream to cells throughout your body, where it’s used for energy.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body becomes resistant to insulin. Your body is no longer using the hormone efficiently. This forces your pancreas to work harder to make more insulin. Over time, this can damage cells in your pancreas. Eventually, your pancreas may not be able to produce any insulin.
If you don’t produce enough insulin or if your body doesn’t use it efficiently, glucose builds up in your bloodstream. This leaves your body’s cells starved for energy.
Doctors don’t know exactly what triggers this series of events.
It may have to do with cell dysfunction in the pancreas or with cell signaling and regulation. In some people, the liver produces too much glucose. There may be a genetic predisposition to developing type 2 diabetes.
There’s also a genetic predisposition to obesity, which increases the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. There could also be an environmental trigger.
Most likely, it’s a combination of factors that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Research into the causes of type 2 diabetes is ongoing.