What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where the body develops and builds an insulin resistance in the muscle and fat tissue causing the need for a higher level of insulin to do the same job as it once would. As the insulin resistance gets larger and larger, the demand for insulin becomes so great the body cannot produce enough insulin to effectively fuel the body, this is the basis of Type 2 Diabetes.
As its the hormone insulin’s job to help move the glucose from the bloodstream into the fat and muscle tissue, if you find yourself abnormally tired and rundown you may be suffering from diabetes as the body cannot produce enough insulin to provide you with energy. As you overeat the body responds by releasing more insulin into the bloodstream which slowly causes the resistance in the body to build up.
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition associated with obesity as it is the bodies response to excessive eating, this differs from Type 1 Diabetes (where the body doesn’t naturally produce enough insulin creating cells). As you overeat the body responds by releasing more insulin into the bloodstream which after several years causes the resistance in the fat and muscle tissue to build up gradually. In combination with this, over the many years the pancreas has been overworked, slowly causes the insulin creating cells in the pancreas to die off, with patients losing around 50-70% of insulin cells before even being diagnosed.
Patients that have a higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes if they:
- Are aged 55 or over
- Suffer from high blood pressure
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Come from an ethnic background (Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiians)
Symptoms of Diabetes
Some patients may experience no symptoms at all while others find that signs of diabetes tend to develop slowly, and as your risk of diabetes increases with age, sometimes some symptoms are often dismissed as the aging process.
Symptoms of Diabetes include:
- Fatigued and lethargic
- Blurred Vision
- Excessive thirst
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
- Skin irritations
- Polyuria – (Excessive urination)
How to Manage Type-2 Diabetes
Managing diabetes can often be done through lifestyle changes and medication in order to reduce blood sugar levels and stop insulin secretion. This can be done by healthy eating, regular exercise, taking prescribed medication and monitoring blood sugar levels.
The transition to a healthy diet should generally consist of high fibre and low-fat foods but consulting a dietitian is highly recommended in order to develop an individually tailored meal plan.
Active exercise is important in reducing blood sugar levels as well as reducing the risk of heart disease. It is recommended to aim for 30 mins of exercise 5 times a week.