Emergency Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
High blood sugar causes long-term damage to the body. However, low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, can be a medical emergency. Hypoglycemia occurs when there are dangerously low levels of blood sugar. For people with type 2 diabetes, only those who are on medications that increase the bodys insulin levels are at risk for low blood sugar.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- irritability or moodiness
- rapid heartbeat
If you are on medicines that increase the amount of insulin in your body, be sure you know how to treat low blood sugar.
How Does Diabetes Develop
Researchers arent sure about the exact cause of type 1 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes is much more well known. Insulin is a hormone that the body produces which allows the sugar in your blood to access the cells in your body. Sugar is necessary for your cells to create energy, and insulin resistance usually occurs after a specific cycle develops.
First, a person is, for whatever reason, unable to make enough insulin to cover all the glucose that they eat. The body tries to make extra insulin to make up for the shortfall. The pancreas is unable to keep up with the increased need for insulin, and excess sugar floats throughout the blood doing damage instead of being absorbed by cells to create energy.
Eventually, insulin becomes less effective at helping glucose enter the cells and blood sugar levels rise ever higher. This effect is known as insulin resistance, and in type 2 diabetes it takes place gradually. Due to the gradual nature of insulin resistance, doctors recommend certain lifestyle changes to either slow the advance of the disease or halt its progress altogether.
Who Gets Type 2 Diabetes
There are people who are healthy and get type 2 diabetes and there are people who are unhealthy and get type 2 diabetes, says Dr. Christofides. Its a bit like lung cancer in that not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and some people get lung cancer who have never smoked.
Type 2 diabetes is multifactorial, explains Sharon Bergquist MD, meaning that a persons genes, environment, and lifestyle work together to lead to the disease. Some of the increased risk may be attributed to genetic susceptibility, but a higher percentage is likely due to environment and lifestyle, which can be influenced by culture and socioeconomics.
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Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed
Yes! The good news is that several studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be reversed. You are considered in remission from type 2 diabetes when you have had normal blood sugar levels for a year without medication.
One of the most important components in reversing type 2 diabetes is early detection. Dr. Bergquist explains, The pancreas produces insulin. The longer you have diabetes, the more damage your insulin resistance causes to your pancreas, and the less likely your pancreas is to recover. Hence, the possibility for remission decreases the longer you have diabetes. But theres a wide window during which you can be successful.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you lower your risk of diabetes.
- Lose weight. Dropping just 7% to 10% of your weight can cut your risk of type 2 diabetes in half.
- Get active. Thirty minutes of brisk walking a day will cut your risk by almost a third.
- Eat right. Avoid highly processed carbs, sugary drinks, and trans and saturated fats. Limit red and processed meats.
- Quit smoking. Work with your doctor to keep from gaining weight after you quit, so you don’t create one problem by solving another.
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Random Plasma Glucose Test
A random blood sugar test looks at blood glucose levels regardless of when you’ve last eaten for a snapshot of your blood sugar status. This test is usually performed when healthcare professionals want to take a look at your blood sugar without having to wait for you to fast and so it can be performed at any time. While a diagnosis of diabetes can be made with the help of this test, it is not usually used to diagnose prediabetes.
If your glucose is over 200 mg/dl, then a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is likely. Again, your doctor will usually perform this test on two different occasions before a confirmed diagnosis is made.
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
The classic symptoms of diabetes are the following:
- unusual thirst and
- unexplained weight loss.
In type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually progress quickly and are often dramatic. In type 2 diabetes, symptoms are slower to progress. However, it is important to note that many people who have type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms. These people may find out they have type 2 diabetes when they go to the doctor for another, unrelated problem.
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Who Is At Risk
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition and as yet the triggers for this condition are unknown. However, type 2 diabetes has a number of risk factors, including being overweight or obese, living a sedentary lifestyle, or eating an unhealthy, high-calorie diet. “With type 2 diabetes your body’s still producing at least some insulin but you can’t respond to it – you’ve lost that sensitivity.”
“If the system gets overworked – eating the wrong things, eating too frequently, too much – the system gets worn out and we lose the sensitivity to it,” explains Dr Jenna Macciochi, Doctor of Immunology at the University of Sussex.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes
People who are middle-aged or older are most likely to get this kind of diabetes. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But type 2 diabetes also affects kids and teens, mainly because of childhood obesity.
Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. There are about 29 million people in the U.S. with type 2. Another 84 million have prediabetes, meaning their blood sugar is high but not high enough to be diabetes yet.
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Will I Need Medication Or Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes
Some people take medication to manage diabetes, along with diet and exercise. Your healthcare provider may recommend oral diabetes medications. These are pills or liquids that you take by mouth. For example, a medicine called metformin helps control the amount of glucose your liver produces.
You can also take insulin to help your body use sugar more efficiently. Insulin comes in the following forms:
- Injectable insulin is a shot you give yourself. Most people inject insulin into a fleshy part of their body such as their belly. Injectable insulin is available in a vial or an insulin pen.
- Inhaled insulin is inhaled through your mouth. It is only available in a rapid-acting form.
- Insulin pumps deliver insulin continuously, similar to how a healthy pancreas would. Pumps release insulin into your body through a tiny cannula . Pumps connect to a computerized device that lets you control the dose and frequency of insulin.
Can Obesity Cause Type 2 Diabetes
How we understand obesity and type 2 diabetes matters as they are the most widespread metabolic disorders. Though theyre separate conditions, they often overlap.
Weight and nutrition specialist Caroline Apovian MD explains, Although lifestyle is very important for both obesity treatment and diabetes, there are people who never develop obesity, and there are people who do have obesity for whom lifestyle changes dont always work, because obesity is a disease and the body defends a higher body weight set point. Even after weight loss, the hormonal changes involved in obesity can force a patient to regain the weight.
Type 2 diabetes patients did not bring it on themselves, emphasizes diabetes and metabolism expert Elena Christofides MD. This is not a moral failing.
But both the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is increasing. Why? Researchers believe its our environment. There has been an increased availability of high-fat, high-sugar, highly processed foods. These foods often contain other non-food items.
Some of these ingredients have been found to act as endocrine disrupters and change the way our bodies store fat and process energy. While there have not been sufficient studies to prove a causal relationship, most doctors and nutritionists recommend avoiding them.
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How To Know When You’ll Need Insulin
Injecting insulin above and to the side of the belly button can result in more consistent results.
There’s no simple way to tell when a patient with type 2 would do best on insulin, says Richard Hellman, MD, former president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. But there are guidelines.
“In general if a patient has a hemoglobin A1C that is higher than the agreed upon goal and they are not on insulin, we recommend insulin therapy,” Dr. Hellman says. The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C of 7% or below, and the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommend an A1C of 6.5% or below.
If you can’t lower your A1C with diet, exercise, or other medications, you may need insulin to do the job.
Exceptions to the insulin ruleThere are exceptions, of course. Someone who otherwise seems to be a good candidate for insulin may not be able to manage such a regimen if he or she has limited vision and dexterity and no family support. Good News About Today’s Improved Insulins
If you do need insulin in the short- or long-term, your doctor may prescribe one of four different types. These vary by how quickly or slowly they reach the bloodstream , the amount of time they work at maximum strength , and how long they continue to be effective .
According to the American Diabetes Association , your need for insulin is based on several factors.
Build Your Health Care Team
There are many medical professionals who can help you live well with diabetes, including:
NHS Inform: âType 2 diabetes.â
American Diabetes Association: âSkin Complications,â âDiabetes and Hearing Loss.â
Alzheimerâs Association: âAlzheimerâs disease and type 2 diabetes: A growing connection.â
UpToDate: âSodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors for the treatment of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes Care: “Investigation of the Accuracy of 18 Marketed Blood Glucose Monitors.â
Diatribe.org: âFDA Publishes Final Recommendations on Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy.â
Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology: “Lot-to-lot variability of test strips and accuracy assessment of systems for self-monitoring of blood glucose according to ISO 15197.â
MIT School of Engineering: “How do glucometers work?â
National Institute of Mental Health: “Depression.”
American Diabetes Association: “Depression.”
Where Can I Find Help And Support For Managing My Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Educators. The American Diabetes Association has a diabetes education finder, where you can find diabetes counseling in your zip code. You may also want to work with a diabetes dietitian to clarify questions about carbs, eating schedules, and more. A diabetes dietitian falls under the umbrella of medical nutrition therapy and is covered by Medicare and many insurance policies. Exercise is another crucial part of care, and you may be eligible for physical therapy as part of your diabetes medical management plan. You can find more information on state-by-state coverage here.
Type 2 diabetes isnt a solo condition. Its largely influenced by our culture and community health practices. Expanding your community to a healthy support system can also be an important part of managing your type 2 diabetes.
Family and friends. Get them on board by creating new food habits together. Often, we feel pressure to maintain the status quo for our families while adjusting our own diets. The changes youre making to improve your health will also improve the health of your family. Choose healthful meals that you can all enjoy together and try to resist making separate meals for yourself.
- Cardiovascular disease
Hyperglycemia can cause myriad problems, with the primary complications being:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Diabetic coma
- Feeling shaky
- Tingling or numbness in your lips, tongue, or cheeks
How To Treat Type 2 Diabetes:
Unlike type 1, people with type 2 diabetes often do not need to take insulin, because their bodies still produce a small amount of it. Though there are medications like Metformin available to assist in lowering blood sugar, the primary ways to treat type 2 diabetes are:
- A balanced diet. Eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins while avoiding more than the occasional high-fat, high-sugar food is the first and most essential step to treating type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise. Staying active is also very important. There are so many ways to get exercise. Try different activities to find a type of exercise you enjoy and work it into your weekly routine.
- Weight loss. Of course, if you work toward eating healthier and exercising, this may be a byproduct. Losing weight is less about the number on the scale and more about taking care of your body and reducing the strain on your pancreas.
- Blood glucose monitoring. Checking your blood sugar regularly will become a part of your daily routine. It’s important to stay up-to-date on how your levels are doing throughout the day and adjust your food and activities accordingly. After a while you’ll figure out the regimen and balance that works best for you.
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How To Know If You Have Type 2 Diabetes
You can find out if you have Type 2 Diabetes by asking your physician for a simple blood test. If you test positive, the disease can be managed successfully by maintaining a healthy weight, following a recommended diet, exercising regularly and sleeping sufficiently.
Advantage Care Health Centers offers routine blood tests, annual physical exams and other preventive health services at our two locations in Brookville and Freeport. Schedule an appointment during National Diabetes Month to learn more.
Monitoring Your Own Blood Glucose
If you have type 2 diabetes, as well as having your blood glucose level checked by a healthcare professional every two to six months, you may be advised to monitor your own blood glucose levels at home.
Even if you have a healthy diet and are taking tablets or using insulin therapy, exercise, illness and stress can affect your blood glucose levels.
Other factors that may affect your blood glucose levels include drinking alcohol, taking other medicines and, for women, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
A blood glucose meter is a small device that measures the concentration of glucose in your blood. It can be useful for detecting high blood glucose or low blood glucose .
If blood glucose monitoring is recommended, you should be trained in how to use a blood glucose meter and what you should do if the reading is too high or too low.
Blood glucose meters aren’t currently available for free on the NHS but, in some cases, blood monitoring strips may be. Ask a member of your diabetes care team if you’re unsure.
Read about diabetic eye screening.
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How Do I Know If I Have Diabetes
Work through a series of simple questions designed to deduce whether you’re showing the common symptoms of diabetes.
Can’t see the quiz?
Diabetes is on the rise, with 4.6 million adults currently diagnosed with the condition in the UK alone, according to Diabetes UK. Around 10% of sufferers have type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune condition in which the body stops producing insulin. However, 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes, usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices .
How Are Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed
This blood test determines your average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. Your doctor may draw your blood or give you a small finger prick.
The higher your blood sugar levels have been over the past few months, the higher your A1C level will be. Test results are expressed as a percentage. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes.
The A1C test isnt accurate for people with sickle cell anemia or the sickle cell trait. If you have this condition or trait, then your doctor will have to use a different test.
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What Is The Best Medication For Diabetes
While diet and exercise alone are enough to help some people with type 2 diabetes achieve their target blood-sugar levels, many also need medications or insulin therapy to effectively manage the disease.
Which diabetes medications are best for you depends on many factors, including your blood-sugar level and other health conditions you have. The prescription drug metformin is usually the first medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It works by lowering glucose production in the liver and improving sensitivity to insulin so that your body uses the hormone more effectively. But your doctor may also recommend a combination of drugs from different classes to help you control your blood sugar in several different ways.
This article first appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Diabetes.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells dont respond normally to insulin this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas cant keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
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