“Take Ownership of Your Health…Naturally.”

— Forrest Smith M.D.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle influenced disease in which there are high levels of sugar (Glucose) in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

Causes

Diabetes is caused by a problem in the way your body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your fat, liver and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, blood sugar does not get into these cells to be stored for energy. When sugar cannot enter cells, high levels of sugar build up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia.

Type 2 diabetes usually occurs slowly over time. Most people with the disease are overweight when they are diagnosed. Increased fat makes it harder for your body to use insulin the correct way. Type 2 diabetes can also develop in people who are thin. This is more common in the elderly, but is now being seen in children. Family history and genes play a role in type 2 diabetes. Low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight around the waist increase your risk.

Treatment

The goal of treatment, at first, is to lower high blood glucose levels. The long-term goals of treatment are to prevent problems from diabetes. The main treatment for type 2 diabetes is exercise and diet.

Symptoms

Often, people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at first. They may not have symptoms for many years. The early symptoms of diabetes may include: bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent and slower to heal. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or numbness in the feet or hands

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider may suspect that you have diabetes if your blood sugar level is higher than 200 mg/dL. To confirm the diagnosis, one or more of the following tests must be done.

Diabetes Blood Tests:

  • Fasting blood glucose level — diabetes is diagnosed it if is higher than 126 mg/dL on more than one occasion
  • Oral glucose tolerance test — diabetes is diagnosed if glucose level is higher than 200 mg/dL after 2 hours
  • Hemoglobin A1c test —
    • Normal: less than 5.7%
    • Pre-diabetes: 5.7% – 6.4%
    • Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

You should see your healthcare provider every 3 months. At these visits, you can expect your health care provider to:

  • Check your blood pressure
  • Check the skin and bones on your feet and legs
  • Check to see if your feet are becoming numb
  • Examine the back part of the eye with a special lighted instrument called and opthalmoscope

Possible Complications

After many years, diabetes can lead to serious problems:

  • You could have eye problems, including trouble seeing (especially at night), and light sensitivity. You could become blind.
  • Your feet and skin can develop sores and infections. After a long time, your foot or leg may need to be removed. Infection can also cause pain and itching in other parts of the body.
  • Diabetes may make it harder to control your blood pressure and cholesterol. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other problems. It can become harder for blood to flow to your legs and feet.
  • Nerves in your body can become damaged, you could have problems digesting the food you eat. You could feel weakness or have trouble going to the bathroom. Nerve damage can also make it harder for men to have an erection.
  • High blood sugar and other problems can lead to kidney damage. Your kidneys may not work as well, and they may even stop working.
  • Infections of the skin, female genital tract, and urinary tract are also more common.

To prevent problems from diabetes, visit your health care provider or diabetes educator at least four times a year. Talk about any problems you are having and call if you experience:

  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in your feet or legs
  • Problems with your eyesight
  • Sores or infections on your feet
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar (being very thirsty, having blurry vision, having dry skin, feeling weak or tired, or frequent urination)
  • Symptoms of low blood sugar (Feeling weak or tired, trembling, sweating, feeling irritable, having trouble thinking clearly, fast heartbeat, double or blurry vision, or feeling uneasy)

Recommendations for Wellness

  1. The best prevention for type 2 diabetes is to obtain and maintain a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle.
  2. Reduce your consumptions of starchy foods that are high in carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, processed cereals, rice or any food with a high glycemic index rating.
  3. The glycemic index is a system that ranks foods based on how they affect your blood sugar. You can google to find glycemic levels of foods.
  4. Consume a high fiber, whole foods diet and work to eliminate preprocessed junk foods from your eating regimen.
  5. Start an exercise program! In most cases, weight reduction can help those with type 2 diabetes.. In addition to decreasing body fat, regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
  6. Dietary fiber, such as psyllium has been shown to improve glucose tolerance in some studies.
  7. Limit alcohol consumption to one serving a day.
  8. Stevia, a naturally sweet plant makes an excellent sugar substitute without the drawbacks of sugar. Stevia can be used in cooking as well.

For more information, contact our office for a consult with our Certified Nutritional Educator.