Type 2 Diabetes

You are above 45 years. You had stopped exercising long time ago due to pressures of work. Now-a-days you feel tired, often thirsty and have the urge to urinate quite often. Suspecting that something is wrong, you visit your family doctor. He gives a thorough check along with some tests and summons you to his office for a personal discussion. You are apprehensive as to what could be wrong. Finally the doctor spills the beans saying you have Type 2 diabetes.

Introduction to type 2 diabetes

The food we take is converted into a sugar called glucose and carried to all the cells in our body by the blood. The pancreas in our body produces a hormone called Insulin which is required to regulate the transportation of sugar from the blood into cells.

Diabetes is a collection of diseases manifested by excessive glucose in the blood which results from the body’s inability to use and or produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, our body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or fails to produce sufficient insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, it is a persistent condition, life threatening and there is no cure. But can be effectively managed and even be prevented.

If you have type 2 diabetes you may not be aware of it. There may be no symptoms or signs at all. Even if there are a few signs, they could be so mild that you do not perceive them at all. Even though perceived, you may not suspect that you suffer from diabetes.

The Type 2 diabetes symptoms may include:

  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Loss of weight
  • Delay in the healing of injuries, sores and infections
  • Urge to urinate frequently, particularly at nights
  • Impaired vision
  • Enhanced craving to eat or consume food often
  • Feeing of thirst
  • Inability to achieve erection in men

The following factors increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and may predispose you to suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Your ethnic background
  • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy, or given birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4.1kg).
  • High blood pressure, 140/90 mm Hg or above
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels; HDL cholesterol — below 35 mg/dL, or triglycerides level above 250 mg/dL.
  • Inactive and no exercise
  • Hormonal imbalance such as changes in menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts in the ovaries, trouble in getting pregnant, and other problems
  • Pre-diabetic i.e., your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but below the level of a person with diabetes.
  • Dark, velvety rash around the neck or armpits; people with diabetes frequently exhibit this condition and common among the people of African descent.
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Overweight or obese
  • If you cannot achieve erection

The prominent risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes are a condition called as pre-diabetes also termed as “Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)” and obesity. Losing little weight is the key for people at risk to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The weight loss can be achieved through moderate diet changes and physical activity.

Get more physical. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. Be innovative to indulge in the physical exercise. For example, walk while you talk. Dance while you cook. Park your car a little far off and take a walk. Avoid lifts. Prefer stairs.

Make healthy choices of food. Eat less. Choose foods that are low in fats, sugar and calories. Go for a variety of fruits and vegetables. Prefer whole grains food.

You can effectively manage type 2 diabetes by using the following self-care plan.

Plan your meals. Consult your health care team.

  • Ensure to have healthy food. Go for fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, dry peas or beans, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
    • Have 3 ounces of fish and lean meat and poultry (or the size of a deck of cards). Bake, broil, or grill it.
    • Eat foods with less fat and salt and more fiber such as whole grains cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
  • Indulge in 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on every day of the week. Move more. Walk briskly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight according to your meal plan.
  • When you are down, ask for help.
  • Learn to handle stress.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Never miss your medicines. Discuss with your doctors if you have any problems.
  • Check every day for unhealed sores, blisters, cuts etc. If any persist consult your doctor.
  • Avoid problems with your mouth, teeth, or gums
  • Check your blood glucose (blood sugar) often and keep a record.
  • Whenever doctor advises, check your blood pressure.
  • If any changes in your vision or eyesight, report to your doctor.
  • Discuss with your health care team and maintain your blood glucose targets.
  • Follow this self-care plan for managing your type 2 diabetes.
  • Whenever you visit your health care team, discuss the progress of your self-care.