When we talk about diabetes, we often refer to Type 2 also known as Diabetes Mellitus. This form of diabetes is characterized as a group of metabolic diseases which the person has an unusually high amount of blood sugar. This normally occurs due to insufficient insulin production, when the body’s cells don’t properly respond to insulin, or both. Today, over 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and around 8 million are undiagnosed.
I don’t want that to be the case for you! This is why I’m providing this article to help discover the changes that need to be made to provide a healthier you!
This article will provide basic information on diabetes, how it happens, signs and symptoms, tips on prevention, and what to do if you have it.
Mechanism of Diabetes
I think as you look around and see the food that is being consumed today you may understand that it is unhealthy in theory but don’t quite get what its doing to your body. As you munch on cakes, cookies, ice cream, bread, pasta, and soda I want you to know how food is affecting your body, health, relationships and your future.
Type 2 diabetes is when blood sugar levels are above normal but where does this excess come from? How does it happen?
The excess blood sugar in the body comes mainly from the food you eat which is turned to glucose or sugar upon digestion and is then converted to energy. When not in use, this sugar is stored into cells with the aid of insulin, a hormone created by the pancreas. Insulin’s sole purpose is to make sure your blood is not saturated with blood sugar.
Suffice to say, if your body is not able to produce enough insulin or if you’re consuming more sugar than the amount of insulin you’re producing, your risk of acquiring diabetes is significantly higher. This doesn’t have to necessarily be the case with a few life altering decisions that will greatly benefit you later.
Signs and Symptoms
Diabetes is known as a silent killer, often being diagnosed once it reaches a point where prevention is no longer an option. One of the main reasons why it’s hard to diagnose diabetes is due to common symptoms associated with excess blood sugar of hyperglycemia. Some of these symptoms are:
- Increased urination frequency
- Constant feeling of thirst or hunger
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Slow-healing cuts or bruises
- Numbing sensation in the hands
If you have any of these symptoms please contact your doctor for a check up.
What Happens If I Have Diabetes?
I want you to know the real life problems you can face if you get diabetes. Diabetes can manifest itself as multiple complications some of which include:
- Foot Complications
- Foot problems often happen when there is nerve damage or neuropathy. Neuropathy causes tingling or burning sensations in the foot. Sometimes the foot becomes so numb, the patient ends up unable to feel their foot anymore and this is dangerous as they might injure themselves without knowing and the smallest of wounds to diabetics can be fatal.
- Other foot complications include dry skin, more calluses, and even foot ulcers which often occur on the ball of the foot.
- Diabetes also causes the blood vessels of the foot and leg to shrink and harden which causes poor blood circulation. Poor blood circulation weakens your foot’s ability to fight off infection and heal and this exacerbates previously mentioned complications specially foot ulcers.
- If circulation is not returned to normal, you might end up amputating your foot or your whole leg, depending on the spread of the infection.
- Strokes occur when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted and leads to damaged brain tissue. The complications arising from stroke include movement problems, cognitive difficulty, and memory problems. Having diabetes increases your rate of having a stroke by up to 1.5 times as diabetes causes poor circulation.
- DKA & Ketones
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis or DKA is a condition that can lead to diabetic coma or even death. This normally happens when the body doesn’t have enough insulin to use glucose. The cells in the body don’t get enough glucose for energy conversion and forces them to burn fat instead. This process produces ketones.
- When ketone build-up in the blood is too much, it makes the blood acidic and is a sign that your diabetes is worsening.
- The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as hypertension.
- Patients with diabetes often suffer from insulin resistance and research as correlated this with hypertension. Simply put, if you have one, you have the other too.
What if I have Diabetes? What do I do?
Acquiring diabetes doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. There many people who live long and healthy even with experiencing diabetes. All they have to do is to be a bit restrictive around a few things and be open to others.
The first thing you must do is to eliminate or at least significantly reduce junk or processed food as these types of food often have plenty of sugar. You should also start eating healthier foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and whole grains. Reducing overall food intake is also recommended but skipping meals is a no-no. If you start feeling hungry then it’s time to invest in food that will make you feel full longer.
Lastly, a diabetic’s diet isn’t always boring or tasteless. There are tons of recipes out there for diabetics and I’m sure you wouldn’t miss your old food once you get a taste of them.
Any type of physical activity helps lower blood sugar which prevents any sudden spikes that can lead to nasty symptoms. Exercise also effectively lowers your risk for heart disease which has been correlated with diabetics. Exercise also helps relieve stress which is necessary since diabetics always have to think about what not to eat and what not to do all the time.
Unfortunately, diabetics require maintenance drugs to function normally specially when it comes to keeping blood pressure and blood sugar low. You should inquire about the different kinds of medicines you have to take, what each does for your body, and when to take them and for how long. (You should talk to your doctor concerning how to safely eliminate medication if possible).
It’s also great if you know the short and long term effects of each medicine specially when it comes to side effects.
3 Quick And Practical Ways To Prevent Diabetes
If you’re fortunate enough to not have any signs or symptoms of diabetes, then it would be to your benefit if you take precautionary steps in making sure you never get this disease. Here are three ways you can prevent diabetes from happening:
Improve Your Diet
Improving your diet is the first and most important step in preventing diabetes. Taking out the junk off your plate and replacing them with nutrient dense foods will make you strong enough to fend off diabetes.
For starters, it’s best to avoid refined sugar at all costs since sugar intake is strongly linked to diabetes and to other types of diseases. This means avoiding this one everyday staple ingredient will help decrease your chances of not only getting diabetes but also other potentially worse diseases in the long run.
While no one really likes the idea of exercising these days, we all know it’s good for us specially when it comes to preventing diabetes. Diabetes happens when we have too much sugar in our body and exercise helps burn those sugars for energy. When our body converts a lot of sugar to energy then there is little to no risk of insulin resistance which greatly reduces your risk for diabetes.
Consult Your Physician
Nothing beats having an expert tell you if there’s something wrong with your body. Having an annual check-up at the very least helps you see what’s happening inside your body and acts as a sort of “preventive maintenance” when it comes to detecting diseases. Knowing your body’s blood chemistry is essential when it comes to determining your risk for diabetes. This little visit might just save your life. (I also recommend a skilled naturopathic doctor along with your primary doctor)
I believe it is important to educate as many people as possible about this subject. It is my passion to make sure you are not eating without awareness and making decisions that can devastate you in the future. Awareness is what brings change. Come to understand what diabetes is doing to millions of families across the world and make a commitment that you will start small and do better for the sake of your life and future!