Type 2 diabetes is a serious and chronic health condition that is defined as having high glucose levels in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is responsible for more than 90% of all cases of diabetes in the United States. The symptoms of diabetes include extreme fatigue, extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, hunger, pain or numbness in the hands and feet and slow healing of wounds.
Type 2 Diabetes is the result of the pancreas failing to produce insulin or producing a small amount of insulin. It can also be caused by the cells becoming resistant to insulin and the receptors on the cells not responding to insulin. Insulin, when it binds to specific receptors on the cell, allows glucose to enter the cells through channels embedded in the cell membrane. The mitochondria within the cell convert the glucose to energy used in daily metabolic processes in the body. When the receptors on the cell are defective, insulin is no longer able to bind to the receptors and allow glucose to enter the cell.
Diabetes is diagnosed as having the symptoms for the disease and also having one positive test carried out in a lab or in a physician's office. These tests include detection of a high concentration of A1C protein at 6.5% or higher, a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) of 126 mg/dl or higher or the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) of 200 mg/dl or higher.
The risk of diabetes can be lowered by 58% by losing at least 7% of your weight. Excess glucose in the bloodstream is stored as fat by the body. Excess fat in the body can cause damage to the vascular system and heart disease. Stored fat can also be broken down into glucose when the body burns more calories than it consumes. This results in an increase in blood sugar levels.
A diet low in carbohydrates, starch and sugar is key to lowering blood sugar. Carbohydrates, starch and sugar are complex sugar molecules that are broken down by the body into glucose. Eating too much of these sugars drives up blood sugar levels.
The timing of meals helps maintain the levels of sugar in the blood. Physicians and nutritionists recommend that you eat 5 small meals a day, each containing protein and carbohydrates, to keep blood sugar constant throughout the day. By following this advice, you will avoid extreme "highs" and "lows" in your energy levels.
Keeping the body active is instrumental in keeping blood sugar low. Regular exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, helps the body break down glucose molecules and burn calories more efficiently than remaining sedentary. This prevents glucose from being stored and will also burn excess body fat.
Regular glucose monitoring helps to keep blood glucose in check. Knowing where your blood sugar levels are at regular times during the day helps you to understand when you should prepare and eat meals during the day.
Taking medications such as pills and/or insulin as prescribed by your doctor effectively lowers blood sugar. It is important to take all your medications as directed by your doctor. Missing a dose will elevate blood sugar levels and increase your risk of complications.