Diabetes has emerged as a growing health challenge for 21st-century people. The number of people impacted with diabetes has tripled within the past twenty years. Especially the growing rate of type-2 diabetes among adults is a serious concern. Integrated steps must be taken to effectively manage diabetes to control its global prevalence rates.
Let’s examine the best practices that shall help in managing type-2 diabetes in 2021.
Integrated steps of Type-2 Diabetes Management
Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults. It is therefore known as adult-onset diabetes. The global prevalence rate of type-2 diabetes is increasing. It is expected that 700 million global populations shall be affected by type-2 diabetes. It is necessary for the effective management of diseases. The key steps are:
Many myths are surrounding diabetes disease. Proper information regarding diabetes and its management shall help in preventing such myths.
It is believed that type-2 diabetes is not curable and it is a risky disease. Numerous studies report people with type-2 diabetes lack proper information and have the stress of health risks, complications, and food issues. It thus leads to anxiety and poor management of the disease. It is therefore essential that people are aware of what type-2 diabetes is and how it can be managed.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type-2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition that affects the way your body metabolizes or processes blood sugar (glucose). In type-2 diabetes, the glucose absorption into the cells decreases due to the cells becoming resistant to insulin. This causes glucose accumulation in the bloodstream.
Due to high glucose levels, insulin production increases. More insulin production weakens the pancreas cells. In the later stages, the body doesn’t even produce sufficient insulin.
In Type-2 diabetes blood glucose levels in the body increases when the body cells become resistant to insulin.
At first, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are so mild that you won’t even get to notice them.
The most common symptoms are:
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Itchy skin
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
If your blood sugar is high for a prolonged period, the following clinical symptoms may become visible along with the above signs:
- Slow-healing sores
- Yeast infections
- Acanthosis nigricans (dark patches on your skin)
- Diabetes peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Foot pain
Don’t take these warning signs casually. Consult a doctor to prevent the worsening of your condition.
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Cause or Etiology of Type 2 Diabetes
The exact cause of type- 2 diabetes is not known. But the main causes of the diseases are as follows:
- Obesity and an inactive lifestyle serve as the most significant cause of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
- Increased glucose production by the liver: The liver converts glycogen into glucose and releases it into the bloodstream. With liver infection and disease like fatty liver, glucose production increases and causing high blood sugar levels.
- Beta-cell dysfunction in the pancreas: The organ pancreas produces the hormone insulin- which regulates the body’s glucose. In Type 2 Diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin. This, in turn, forces the beta cells of the pancreas to release more insulin. Eventually, glucose starts building up in your body and leaves the cells void of energy. In the worst case, the beta cells of the pancreas become weak. Due to which they are unable to produce more insulin.
- Genetic influence and hereditary
Type-2 diabetes causes are insulin resistance, obesity and poor lifestyle, beta-cell dysfunctioning, genetic factors, and increased production of glucose by the liver.
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What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?
You are at higher risk of having Type 2 Diabetes if you come under any of the following factors:
- A family history of diabetes (A sister, brother, or parent who has type 2 diabetes)
- If the person is of 45 years of age, or older.
- Their ethnicity is African American, Alaska Native, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, or Pacific Islander American.
- Women having a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- if the person is already a prediabetes
- If they have high levels of triglycerides
However, there are some other factors which are in the person’s control. That is, If the person is – :
- Overweight or obesity due to which the cells become more resistant to insulin.
- Stress and anxiety
- Consuming an excess of junk food or processed foods.
- Having a sedentary lifestyle
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking.
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Diagnosis and Tests
The diagnosis of type-2 diabetes is done through various blood tests. These tests aim to measure blood sugar levels.
- Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test – It determines the average blood sugar level of a patient over the past two to three months. A1C test measures the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin. Type 2 diabetes, in India, is diagnosed when the A1C is over 6.5 percent.
- Fasting plasma glucose test – It determines the blood sugar level on an empty stomach. If the fasting blood sugar is 126 mg/dL or higher, the person is said to be diabetic.
- Random plasma glucose test – This test is performed if you have symptoms of diabetes. It can be done at any time without considering your last meal. The random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher suggests that you have diabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) – the test checks the blood glucose before and 2 hours after you drink a sugary liquid. If the blood sugar level is 200 mg/dL or more after 2 hours, then you have diabetes.
Blood tests measure the circulating blood glucose levels. The blood glucose levels above 130 mg/dL are abnormal.
The doctors based on the outcome of the blood tests and diagnosis may suggest any of the following medication.
- Metformin – It lowers the production of glucose in the liver and improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin. (preferred medication)
- Sulfonylureas – The oral medications which help your body secrete more insulin.
- Meglitinides – It stimulates the pancreas to release more insulin. The medication is fast-acting but short-durational.
- Thiazolidinediones – It makes the body’s tissues more sensitive to insulin. It has serious side effects and therefore, not the first-choice treatment.
- DPP-4 inhibitors – A milder medication to reduce blood sugar levels.
- GLP-1 receptor agonists – It slows digestion and enhances blood glucose levels.
- SGLT2 inhibitors – The medications inhibit the reabsorption of glucose in the kidney and thereby, lower blood sugar.
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors – It helps your body break down starchy foods and table sugar which lowers blood sugar.
Note: It is the doctors who shall decide on the choice and dosage of medicine. So, if you are allergic to any of the medicines or if you have skipped dose consult doctors immediately.
Insulin therapy: Insulin hormone is given externally in this therapy. It is given to the patient through a needle, insulin pump, or inhaler. Insulin treatment varies from person to person. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is a possible side effect of insulin.
Five different types of insulin are used for insulin therapy. The choice of insulin depends on the medical condition of the patient. The doctors shall specify the frequency and the dose of the insulin for each patient.
Lifestyle changes & Diet
Researches have proved that a proper lifestyle helps in maintaining weight, enhances blood circulation, and enhances the body’s response to medicines. It thus helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and controlling type-2 diabetes. It has proved to help in the reversal of type-2 diabetes for numerous patients.
The following lifestyle changes help to bring the blood sugar level back to normal:
- Do exercise and aerobic activity daily – It helps the cells to use insulin.
- Control your weight – It can reduce your A1C levels and risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Healthy diet – Consume food that is rich in fibre and carbohydrates.
- Proper sleep – To control the blood glucose level, you must have proper sleep.
Key points for diet plan:
- Always keep track of the carbs you eat. The best way is to set a limit on Carbs for each meal.
- Consume low glycaemic index fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and apples.
- Consume a more fiber-rich diet. Fiber helps to manage blood glucose levels and decreases cholesterol levels. It also helps in weight control.
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid processed fruits and foods.
A proper lifestyle and proper diet shall help in controlling type-2 diabetes efficiently.
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Type 2 Diabetes Complications
Type 2 diabetes requires proper care and treatment. Leaving it unmanaged and untreated can lead to serious health issues. Some of the potential complications are:
- Heart and blood vessels – Type-2 Diabetes increases your risk of suffering from heart disease or a stroke by five times. You may also suffer from blocked blood vessels and chest pain.
- Kidneys – Diabetes also damages your kidneys which may even lead to kidney failure. Hence, you may require dialysis or a kidney replacement.
- Eyes – High blood sugar can also deteriorate the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This condition is called retinopathy. This problem, if not treated in time, can lead to blindness.
- Nerves – This can affect your digestion, the feeling in your feet, and your sexual prowess.
- Skin – As this disease hinders the blood circulation in your body, wound healing becomes slower and can also cause infection.
- Pregnancy – Diabetes also increases the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women. It also increases the chances of stillbirth or a baby with a birth defect.
- Sleep – Type-2 diabetes may cause sleep apnea, a condition in which the breathing stops and starts in a patient when he/she is asleep.
- Hearing – High blood sugar levels also cause hearing problems in some patients. It, however, is yet to be proven scientifically but many experts have observed this problem in patients.
- Brain – Type-2 diabetes also damages your brain and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Depression – Diabetes also doubles the risk of developing depression.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Some symptoms start to emerge and this makes the blood sugar levels rise. But the blood sugar levels are not so high to be diagnosed as diabetic. This is a prediabetic condition. Proper care in this condition can help you to avoid diabetes and its complication. Thus, there is a chance to prevent the conversion of prediabetes into diabetes.
To prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes:
- Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
- Exercise regularly and lose weight if you are obese.
- Quit smoking
- Follow a ketogenic or very-low-carb diet
- Drink water and avoid beverages that are high in sugar.
The Bottom Line
Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, acquire healthy habits and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Don’t take diabetes casually just because it develops gradually.
If you notice even 1% sign of diabetes, consult a doctor and steer clear of the unpleasant end result.
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What is the best time for the blood test for diabetes diagnosis?
Is it possible to have type-2 diabetes at a younger age (children)?
Type-2 diabetes is more common in adults. But with increasing obesity rates and less physical activities among children, the rates of type-2 diabetes among children are also increasing. Thus, yes children can also have type-2 diabetes. But symptoms of it appear very slowly.
Is it possible to manage Type-2 Diabetes without medicines?
With a lifestyle change and proper diet you can manage blood glucose levels even without medication. But taking medicines or not taking them is to be decided based on your condition by the doctor.
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.