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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

04 Jul 2024

Amongst all the things good for human health, blood sugar is one of the most important ones. It is a primary source of energy for our bodies, and without it, your body can’t seem to function at its best. Nothing is hard to beat though, if you put your mind to it. That’s why we’re here today to discuss how you, as someone experiencing type 2 diabetes can find your pathway to a healthy life amidst these complexities. 

What is Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar or Glucose is a major source of energy for your body but it cannot be absorbed directly into the cells. A hormone called Insulin helps in the absorption of sugar into your cells. When your body is unable to absorb sugar properly, it may lead to diabetes. There are ways to prevent diabetes though, and we’re here to share them with you.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes happens when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or becomes resistant to it (also called Insulin Resistance). It is mostly seen in middle-aged or old people but children can have it as well. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with the help of lifestyle measures. If not treated, it can create health issues in your body like kidney or heart diseases. Usually, it can be managed by modifying one’s lifestyle. We’ll talk more about it later in this article. 

How is type 2 diabetes caused?

Well, the main culprit here is insulin resistance. It occurs when your body doesn’t respond to insulin properly. Insulin is important for regulating blood sugar levels but when things aren’t going right, and your pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to balance the sugar levels, it leads to type 2 diabetes.

There are several causes to why this happens. Let’s dig in.

  • Your genetics
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Consuming highly processed food items
  • Not being physically active
  • Chronic stress
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Not sleeping well

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes symptoms are known to be so mild that they can easily go unnoticed, they develop slowly. Let’s learn what they could be.

  • Feeling very thirsty and hungry
  • Frequently urinating
  • Unhealing or slow-healing wounds
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Numbness in the limbs
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry skin

What is the treatment for type 2 diabetes?

Dealing with type 2 diabetes is a holistic process. It includes a mix of lifestyle modification and medication.

Weight Loss

Weight loss can help improve your blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity and overall health. Losing some weight can also eliminate the need for diabetes medications. It can also help you steer away from diabetes complications like heart disease and stroke, and improve cardiovascular health. 

Stay Active and Exercise

Exercising when coupled with a healthy type 2 diabetes diet, can work wonders. Having an unhealthy diet can increase your sugar levels and ruin the effort you put into exercising. Hence, don’t aim for exercising alone, refine your diet to a type 2 diabetes diet too.

You can also set up an exercise routine with the help of a healthcare professional. Go for walks, or cycling. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.

Get a Good Diet Plan

With the help of a nutritionist, set up a type 2 diabetes diet plan for yourself. A good diet boosts physical and mental health, maintains your weight, prevents complications and beats the symptoms.

Just ensure you take enough calories, fruits and veggies, and lean proteins. Limit added sugar, alcohol and processed foods.

Get Better Sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Improper or poor sleep can imbalance your hormone levels and lead to insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. If nothing works, try a bedtime routine like meditating or reading so your body knows it is time to sleep.

Most importantly, limit screen use at least an hour before sleeping, it can affect your sleep quality.

Focus on your Medication

As mentioned before, diabetes is just as important for type 2 diabetes treatment as any other lifestyle modification is. The type 2 diabetes medication suggested by your healthcare provider can help lower your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Talk to your doctor and explore what type 2 diabetes medication options are available and suitable for you and keep monitoring the progress.

Stop Smoking

Besides generally being a health hazard, smoking is especially bad for people with type 2 diabetes. It can make your diabetic complications even worse. When you stop smoking, your insulin sensitivity automatically gets better and the cardiovascular risks attached to it also minimise.

Identify your triggers and cope with them, seek medical support and try nicotine replacement therapy. Take it slow and stay positive.

Stay Patient

Learn to be patient. Know that this will take time, it’s not an overnight journey. Don’t be discouraged, keep pushing yourself harder and strive for a better lifestyle every day. The last thing you want to do is burden yourself. Take baby steps and be kind to yourself. The results will be visible soon.

It’s all about adopting a balanced lifestyle, thoughtful decisions and looking after yourself. Once you incorporate these your routine and help whenever needed, you can happily live life you’ve always dreamed of. Just remember you’re never all alone in this. Your loved ones and we are always with you!

About the Author

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Devina Aswal
MBBS, DDM, FCR, CIC

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