Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly more common. An awareness of what the disease is, and how it affects lifestyle, can help people to determine whether they are at risk and what they need to do to lower their risk. This article offers several helpful diabetes facts.
Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes -- not just those with a family history of diabetes.
Genetics plays a role in the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, however it's not the only diabetes risk. Lifestyle factors play a significant risk as well: being overweight, lack of exercise, and poor diet also contribute to risk.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease.
Type 2 diabetes tends to develop slowly, over a period of many years. It's understandable that many people believe that it's not a serious disease particularly when many diabetics manage the disease only through diet and exercise. However, diabetes is always serious, regardless of what type you have. Untreated diabetes can lead to many serious complications including heart and kidney problems.
Diabetes cannot be cured.
Once you have diabetes, it is a life-long condition. There is currently no cure. Type 2 diabetes can be managed with a diabetes treatment plan that includes a nutritious diet, regular moderate exercise, maintaining (or achieving) a healthy weight, and, in some cases, diabetes medications or insulin. Good diabetes control will help to alleviate symptoms and lower the risk of complications, however it does not cure the disease.
Being overweight is a significant risk factor.
Excess body weight leads to insulin resistance, which is your body's decreased lack of sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance is a strong indicator for the development of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can occur in children.
Type 2 diabetes is sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes, because it used to appear primarily in adults. In recent years, however, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children has been steadily increasing. A convenience diet of fast foods (high in fat and sugar, and thus calories) has increased the number of overweight children. A modern lifestyle where children don't get as much exercise also leads to weight gain. Being overweight is a significant risk for the development of type 2 diabetes.
Diet and exercise are sometimes enough to treat Type 2 diabetes.
In some people, sticking with a nutritious, portion-controlled and carbohydrate-balanced meal plan, plus getting regular moderate exercise is enough to keep blood glucose levels under control.
Type 2 diabetics may still need to take insulin or other diabetes medications.
Insulin or other medications may be required to help diabetics manage blood sugar levels, as well as keep blood pressure or cholesterol levels within reasonable limits. In some cases, diet and exercise may be enough to allow a diabetic to stop taking insulin or medication. A healthcare provider will be able to advise you.
Diet and exercise are both critical to the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight is advisable for everyone, but particularly for diabetics. Even losing 10 or 15 pounds can help to increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. A dietitian can assist you in creating a nutritious meal plan that will help your blood glucose levels stay within normal or near-normal range. A regular exercise routine also helps to control blood glucose levels, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol. The combination of diet and exercise also has the bonus effect of making it easier to maintain or achieve a healthy body weight.
Diabetics can eat starches, carbohydrates, and sweets.
Starches and carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy meal plan. Sweets can be incorporated (in moderation) as well. For diabetics, as for everyone, portion control is important. The carbohydrates in foods raise blood sugar levels, so diabetics much watch how much they eat, and even when they eat. A dietitian can assist you in developing an eating plan that includes your favorite foods. It is important for diabetics to follow their eating and exercise plans to keep their blood glucose levels under tight control.
Diabetics are at higher risk for heart problems, skin problems, vision problems, and other complications.
foot problems, vision problems, dry or itchy skin, hypertension (high blood pressure), recurring candida infections, heart disease, depression, and dental problems, to name a few.
There is no such thing as a "mild" form of diabetes. If you have diabetes, you will need to a treatment plan to keep it under control and lower your risk of further complications of diabetes.
A diabetes diagnosis can significantly impact your lifestyle.
You will have to deal with dietary changes, a critical exercise program, physical changes / symptoms, the financial costs of treatment (eg. glucometer, test strips, gym memberships or exercise equipment...). Plus there are family and social considerations too. For example, you may need to help your family adjust to your new diet (or you may need to adjust to following your own meal plan, while your family eats how and what it always has). Or you may need to figure out a way to take insulin shots or diabetes medications if you're out with friends, or while at work.
Diabetes is not a death sentence.
Type 2 diabetes can be controlled. Diabetics can do nearly everything someone without diabetes can do, and can hold most of the same jobs (there may still be a few, rare job positions that disallow people with diabetes, due to the nature of the work). Diabetics can lead normal, long lives! The key is to stick with and follow your treatment plan.
You can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If you are overweight, lose the excess weight in a safe and sustainable manner that includes eating healthy foods and engaging in a regular exercise program. Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise routine, particularly if you haven't exercised in a while. Regular exercise keeps you fit and healthy, and when combined with a nutritious diet, can significantly lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes facts awareness can help to understand the disease and the risks. If you have risk factors or have been showing signs of diabetes, then go to your healthcare provider for an assessment. If you have not yet been diagnosed then there may still be an opportunity to prevent getting diabetes.