How Can I Manage My Type 2 Diabetes
Managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and quitting smoking if you smoke, are important ways to manage your type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes that include planning healthy meals, limiting calories if you are overweight, and being physically active are also part of managing your diabetes. So is taking any prescribed medicines. Work with your health care team to create a diabetes care plan that works for you.
When To See A Dermatologist
Diabetes can cause many other skin problems. Most skin problems are harmless, but even a minor one can become serious in people who have diabetes. A board-certified dermatologist can recognize skin problems due to diabetes and help you manage them.
Are all dermatologists board certified?
No. See what it takes to become board certified.
ImagesImage 1: Image Courtesy of Clark C. Otley, MD. All Rights Reserved
Images 3, 7, 8, 9: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Image 2 from DermNetNZ
Some images used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
ReferencesCohen Sabban, EN. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus from A to Z. Focus session presented at: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology March 4-8, 2016 Washington D.C.
Duff M, Demidova O, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Clinical Diabetes. 2015 33:40-8.
Kalus AA, Chien AJ, et al. Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008:1461-70.
McKinley-Grant L, Warnick M, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease. In: Kelly AP and Taylor S. Dermatology for Skin of Color. . The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. China, 2009:481-4.
Morgan AJ and Schwartz RA. Diabetic dermopathy: A subtle sign with grave implications. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 58:447-51.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Diabetes
Untreated diabetes tends to cause worsening symptoms over time as chronically high blood sugar levels cause more damage to your tissues and organs. You may not recognize these warning signs in the beginning if theyre mild.
Its important that you visit your doctor if you notice any potential warning signs of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage the tissues and organs in your body.
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Causes Of Type 1 Diabetes
The bodys immune system is responsible for fighting off foreign invaders, such as harmful viruses and bacteria.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakes the bodys own healthy cells for foreign invaders. The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. After these beta cells are destroyed, the body is unable to produce insulin.
Researchers dont know why the immune system sometimes attacks the bodys own cells. It may have something to do with genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to viruses. Research into autoimmune diseases is ongoing.
Healthy Eating For Type 2 Diabetes
A dietitian or your doctor will be able to advise you on what to eat to meet your nutritional needs and control your blood sugar. Your doctor should be able to refer you to a registered dietitian for personalised advice.
Eating healthy foods with a low glycaemic index can help to optimise your blood sugar levels. This includes wholegrain breads, minimally processed breakfast cereals like rolled or steel cut oats, legumes, fruit, pasta and dairy products.
Avoid high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient foods such as cakes, lollies and soft drinks, and eat a diet low in saturated fat.
You should eat at regular times of the day and may also need snacks. Try to match the amount of food you eat with the amount of activity you do, so that you dont put on weight.
If you are overweight or obese, losing even 5-10 per cent of your body weight can significantly improve blood sugar control.
Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
There is no single cause of type 2 diabetes but some factors can put you at greater risk. They include:
- being age 40 or over
- being overweight
- having a family member who has diabetes
- having had gestational diabetes
- having given birth to a baby that weighed more than 4 kg at birth
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol or other fats in the blood or
- member of a high-risk ethnic group.
Living With Type 2 Diabetes
Having type 2 diabetes can bring up lots of questions about your lifestyle, but were here with the answers. From nutritional advice and recipes to help you know what to eat when you have type 2 diabetes, tips about diabetes and alcohol and keeping active and staying fit were here to support you.
Type 2 diabetes is also associated with other health conditions, such as thyroid disease and dental problems. Its important to be aware of these, so make sure to read our information about diabetes related conditions.
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Type 1 And Type 2 Differences
Below is a guide to some of the main differences between type 1 and type 2.
Your body attacks the cells in your pancreas which means it cannot make any insulin.
Your body is unable to make enough insulin or the insulin you do make doesnt work properly.
We dont currently know what causes type 1 diabetes.
We know some things can put you at risk of having type 2 like weight and ethnicity.
The symptoms for type 1 appear more quickly.
Type 2 symptoms can be easier to miss because they appear more slowly.
Type 1 is managed by taking insulin to control your blood sugar.
You can manage type 2 diabetes in more ways than type 1. These include through medication, exercise and diet. People with type 2 can also be prescribed insulin.
Currently there is no cure for type 1 but research continues.
Type 2 cannot be cured but there is evidence to say in many cases it can be prevented and put into remission.
Signs And Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be so mild that you don’t notice them. About 8 million people who have it don’t know it. Symptoms include:
- Being very thirsty
- Weight loss without trying
- Getting more infections
Facts You Should Know About The Type 2 Diabetes Diet
- Type 2 diabetes involves problems getting enough glucose into the cells. When the sugar can’t get where it is supposed to be, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels in the bloodstream, which can lead to complications such as kidney, nerve, and eye damage, and cardiovascular disease.
- Foods to eat for a type 2 diabetic diet meal plan include complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils. Foods to avoid include simple carbohydrates, which are processed, such as sugar, pasta, white bread, flour, and cookies, pastries.
- Foods with a low glycemic load only cause a modest rise in blood sugar and are better choices for people with diabetes. Good glycemic control can help in preventing long-term complications of type 2 diabetes.
- Fats don’t have much of a direct effect on blood sugar but they can be useful in slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
- Protein provides steady energy with little effect on blood sugar. It keeps blood sugar stable and can help with sugar cravings and feeling full after eating. Protein-packed foods to eat include beans, legumes, eggs, seafood, dairy, peas, tofu, lean meats, and poultry.
- Five diabetes“superfoods” to eat include chia seeds, wild salmon, white balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, and lentils.
- Healthy diabetes meal plans include plenty of vegetables, limited processed sugars, and red meat.
Glycemic index and load
Carbohydrates can be classified as either
Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented for some people. While unchangeable things like genetics, age, and family history can affect your risk for developing diabetes, there are a few things you can do to help keep your risk as low as possible:
Eat healthy. Eating a lot of red meats, processed meats , and sugar is linked to higher rates of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains to help reduce your risk.
Be active. Consistently remaining inactive is another risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The ADA recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week to help lower your risk of developing diabetes. Discuss exercising with your doctor before starting any new routines.
Lose weight if youre overweight. Being overweight is also linked with a higher risk of diabetes. The more you weigh, the higher your risk. Talk to your doctor about how to safely lose weight before starting any diets.
If youre worried about your risk of developing diabetes, make an appointment to see your doctor and talk to them about making some of these healthy changes. Taking charge of your health now will only benefit you in the long run.
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How To Help Prevent Diabetes
Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, “There are two types of diabetes and it’s important to highlight that you can’t prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes. Although scientists have discovered possible connections that may be the cause, research is ongoing to find the exact cause at this time. For type 2 diabetes, mild to moderate exercise such as taking a walk and lifting weights like traditional dumbbells a couple of days a week and eating a diet that is balanced but also sustainable can help prevent diabetes.”
The Mayo Clinic states, “Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. However, the same healthy lifestyle choices that help treat prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can also help prevent them:
What Does Undiagnosed Diabetes Feel Like
I remember feeling really tired and sleepy, but I didnt think anything of it as I was trying to juggle work and caring for my three children. When I got diagnosed, it made me think about my mum and her health. I thought she might have had diabetes too. She always used to feel tired and she had a boil on her leg that never seemed to heal. Read Saritas story in full.
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Extremely Dry Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin
If you have diabetes, youre more likely to have dry skin. High blood sugar can cause this. If you have a skin infection or poor circulation, these could also contribute to dry, itchy skin.
- Tell your doctor about your extremely dry skin. Gaining better control of diabetes can reduce dryness.
- If you continue to have dry skin after you gain better control of your diabetes, a dermatologist can help.
What Health Problems Can People With Diabetes Develop
Following a good diabetes care plan can help protect against many diabetes-related health problems. However, if not managed, diabetes can lead to problems such as
- heart disease and stroke
- gum disease and other dental problems
- sexual and bladder problems
Many people with type 2 diabetes also have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease . Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can improve NAFLD. Diabetes is also linked to other health problems such as sleep apnea, depression, some types of cancer, and dementia.
You can take steps to lower your chances of developing these diabetes-related health problems.
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Managing Type 1 Diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes may benefit from controlling and counting the amount of carbohydrates they eat because carbohydrates are the bodys primary source of glucose. Insulin levels can be predicted by determining how many grams of carbohydrates were eaten at each meal. It is recommended that people with type 1 diabetes stay active, but they may need to monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust their carbohydrate intake to prevent a low blood sugar condition called hypoglycemia.
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.
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Blurred Vision Could Be A Result Of Rapid Blood Sugar Changes
Blurred vision can occur when there are rapid changes in blood sugar from low to high or high to low and the eye muscles have not yet adapted to it, Dr. Einhorn says.
The lens of the eye is a flexible membrane suspended by muscles that change the shape of the lens to focus the eye. In a high-sugar environment, such as with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, the lens loses some of its ability to bend, he explains, and the muscles of the eye have to work harder to focus.
The good news: Caught early, diabetes-related vision changes can return to normal after about six week of healthy blood sugar levels, Turner says. Caught in time, vision may take about six weeks to return to normal.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your body doesnât make enough of a hormone called insulin or doesnât use insulin the way it should. Insulin helps carry glucose to your cells. So when thereâs a problem with the insulin, glucose builds up in your blood. Youâve probably heard this called high blood sugar.
About 90% of people who have diabetes have type 2. The other two main ones are type 1, in which your body stops making insulin, and gestational, which happens in pregnant women.
You can usually control type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. Some people also need medication.
You might not know that you have type 2 diabetes until it affects your health. About 1 in 4 people with the condition donât know that they have it.
Symptoms can come on slowly. They may include:
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Why Is Diabetes Commonly Undiagnosed
Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, “Diabetes is associated with a variety of symptoms such as an increase in thirst, changes in vision, and fatigue which can make it difficult to consider you might have diabetes. My patients often report seeing the eye doctor or thinking they need to get their vision checked or often associate the fatigue with an inadequate amount of sleep.”
Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis And Tests
Your doctor can test your blood for signs of type 2 diabetes. Usually, theyâll test you on 2 days to confirm the diagnosis. But if your blood glucose is very high or you have many symptoms, one test may be all you need.
- A1c. It’s like an average of your blood glucose over the past 2 or 3 months.
- Fasting plasma glucose. This is also known as a fasting blood sugar test. It measures your blood sugar on an empty stomach. You won’t be able to eat or drink anything except water for 8 hours before the test.
- Oral glucose tolerance test . This checks your blood glucose before and 2 hours after you drink something sweet to see how your body handles the sugar.
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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.
Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes
Itâs important to get your blood sugar under control to avoid these serious conditions:
- Hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar falls below 70 milligrams per deciliter , it can lead to accidents, coma, and death.
- Hyperglycemia. Blood sugar that goes above 180 to 200 mg/dL can give you heart, nerve, kidney, and vision problems. Over the long term, it also can cause coma and death.
Over time, people with type 2 diabetes may have other health problems:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis. When you donât have enough insulin in your system, your blood sugar rises, and your body breaks down fat for energy. Toxic acids called ketones build up and spill into your urine. It can cause coma and death if you donât treat it.
- Heartand blood vessel diseases. People with diabetes are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which play a role in heart disease. Also, high blood sugar can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.
- High blood pressure. Diabetes doubles your risk of high blood pressure, which makes you more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
- Nerve damage . This can cause tingling and numbness, most often in your feet and legs. But it can also affect your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart.
- Eyedamage. Diabetes can cause:
- Glaucoma, a buildup of pressure in your eyes
- Cataracts, a cloudiness of your lens
- Retinopathy, which is damage to the blood vessels in your eyes
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