Let's start with this thought: maybe you've been living with it for weeks, months, or even years. Maybe it's making Saturday brunch a bit difficult. Perhaps it's making you a bit queasy after a quick run, since your blood sugar keeps fluctuating.
It's difficult to fully understand something as complex as Type 2 Diabetes, but can we simplify it? Today, we will lay out the facts.
Definition of Key Terms in Type 2 Diabetes
Before we dive in, let's define a few terms first:
If you were recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, check out Caretalk's page on having a new diagnosis for support, advice, and more.
Spot the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes (formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes) is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system attacks the pancreas, damaging it and preventing it from producing insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed at an early age, and people with this condition are highly dependent on daily insulin for day-to-day living.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, responsible for more than 90% of diabetes mellitus cases worldwide, and totalling to a population of 34.2 million people in the U.S. Having this condition means that while your body produces enough insulin for you to survive, it is unable to use insulin as it should—something referred to as "insulin resistance." With insulin resistance, you leave higher amounts of unused glucose in your bloodstream, which causes a spike in your blood glucose levels. People with Type 2 Diabetes are usually diagnosed in middle age or older; however, cases in younger people are rising. Type 2 Diabetes used to be called "non-insulin-dependent diabetes," but that's a misnomer since some people require insulin for treatment. However, lifestyle changes like diet & exercise can make a significant impact on your diabetes.
Proper Management is the Key
Watching one's diet and maintaining a regular exercise routine are the most fundamental aspects of diabetes management. Although diet and exercise are key interventions, it's important that they be individualized: what works for one person may not work for another person. Check out this article to learn more about how exercise lowers your blood sugar levels.
Try to incorporate foods with low glycemic indexes into your diet—for example, whole grains, fiber-rich fruits, greens, lean proteins, and legumes. Be wary of processed foods—they are filled with lots of unhealthy additives. When planning your meals, you should try to incorporate some of your favorite foods. Remember, eating healthy doesn't have to be bland! Here are a few delicious, nutritious meal ideas.
Following your doctor's lead is always a wise choice, and strict compliance with medications and other prescribed treatments will ensure that your risk for encountering any complications is minimal. Read here to check the side effects or warnings of your diabetes medications. Check your blood sugar levels with a glucometer every day if your doctor tells you to do so, and keep track of your blood sugar tendencies. Learn to manage Type 2 Diabetes just like the champion you have always been—you can do it!