Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as
With type 2 diabetes, the body resists the effects of insulin (a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar in cells), or does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal level of glucose.
More common in adults, type 2 diabetes affects children more and more, due to increased childhood obesity. There is No cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to control the disease if you eat properly, exercise and keep a healthy weight. If diet and exercise are not enough to effectively control blood sugar, you may need diabetes medications or insulin treatment.
The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes are often slow-manifested. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. Pay attention to the following:
Increased thirst and frequent urination The excess sugar that accumulates in the bloodstream causes the fluid to be removed from the tissues. This can make you thirsty. As a result, you probably
Increased appetite. Without
Slimming. Despite eating more than usual to alleviate hunger, you might lose weight. Without the ability to metabolize glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in the muscles and fat. You lose calories by releasing excess glucose in your urine.
Fatigue. If the cells do not receive sugar, you can get tired or feel irritable.
Blurred vision. If the blood sugar level is too high, fluid may be removed from the lens of the eyes. This can affect your ability to focus
Sores that take to heal or frequent infections Type 2 diabetes affects your ability to heal and resist infections.
Darkened skin areas. Some people with type 2 diabetes have dark, velvety patches on the skin of the creases and furrows, which are usually in the armpits and neck. This condition, called “Acanthosis nigricans”, can be a sign of insulin resistance.
When to see your doctor
Check with your doctor if you notice any type of type 2 diabetes symptoms.
People with type 2 diabetes should follow a treatment plan. A treatment plan, also called a “plan for diabetes control,” helps people control their diabetes as well as stay healthy and active. Treatment plans are based on the needs of each person in relation to their health and the suggestions of the team that is treating their diabetes.
Key points of treatment for diabetes
The first thing to know about diabetes treatment is what blood glucose levels are. The blood glucose level is the amount of glucose a person has in his or her blood. Glucose is a sugar contained in the foods we eat, and the body also produces and stores it. It is the main source of energy for the cells of the body and reaches each cell through the bloodstream. Glucose enters cells with the help of a hormone called “insulin.”
So how do blood glucose levels relate to type 2 diabetes? People with type 2 diabetes no longer respond to insulin normally, so glucose remains in the bloodstream and cannot enter the cells. This causes blood glucose levels to increase too much. A person with type 2 diabetes is likely to feel sick if he or she has high blood sugar levels.
Therefore, the treatment plan for a person with type 2 diabetes is to maintain blood sugar levels within healthy parameters, and must ensure that these people can grow and develop normally. To achieve this goal, people with type 2 diabetes should take care of the following:
- Have a healthy and balanced diet, and follow a meal plan
- Exercising regularly
- Taking the drugs at the indicated doses
- Check blood sugar levels regularly
It’s good to know that respecting the plan can help people feel healthy and have no health problems associated with long-term diabetes.
Have a healthy diet and follow a meal plan
Having a healthy diet and exercising more often is good for everyone. But it is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes because they tend to have more body fat than they should. Excess body fat is the result of eating more calories than you spend every day. The body stores
Achieving a healthy weight–and even losing some weight, eliminating excess fat–contributes greatly to keeping blood sugar levels under control. How to achieve it? People with type 2 diabetes should eat healthy foods. They should also pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates and calories contained in the food they eat.
The intake of certain foods and not others will cause blood sugar levels to increase. This will make it harder for diabetics to keep blood sugar under control unless they receive insulin and take diabetes medications at the appropriate time and dosage.
Food contains three main types of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrate-containing foods cause increased blood sugar levels. Foods that contain mostly proteins and/or fats do not affect both blood sugar levels and those containing carbohydrates. However, they contain calories and can cause a person to gain a lot of weight due to body fat if consumed too much.
For people with type 2 diabetes (and for all others as well) it is best not to eat sweets or fast foods. In addition to not being healthy foods, they can cause weight gain due to excess body fat and cause cavities. People with type 2 diabetes should also eat smaller portions.
Following a balanced and healthy diet does not mean giving up eating the foods that you like or starve to death. However, if you have overweight issues, you may need to restrict the use of junk food and candy, as well as eating smaller portions.
You and the team that are treating your diabetes can design a meal plan and put it in writing. This will help you eat better. Meal plans often include guidelines for preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as scheduled snacks between meals.
A diabetic meal plan will not tell you exactly what foods to eat, but it will guide you to choose options within the main food groups, so you can follow a nutritious and balanced diet. Every meal and snack of the plan will contain a certain amount of carbohydrates depending on the amount and type of diabetes medications you are receiving.
Exercise is good for everyone, including people with diabetes. It is also an important part of the diabetes treatment plan, because exercise can improve the body’s response to insulin, help to lose excess body fat and keep the heart and lungs in good condition. It can also reduce the risk of having other health problems, such as cancer.
You may wonder if the exercise will not affect your diabetes, but you should not put your illness as an excuse not to start moving. Most of the exercises are excellent for people with type 2 diabetes: from walking the dog or riding a bike to practicing team sports. Consider as a goal to exercise every day to benefit the most.
You can talk to the team that is treating your diabetes about the need to adapt your diet or medication if you exercise. They will make specific suggestions for you to exercise or sport and give you written instructions for any problems associated with your diabetes during this practice, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level).
Taking medications as prescribed
There are many medications for people with type 2 diabetes. They have different effects to help the body produce insulin or respond better to this hormone.
Sometimes, diabetes pills-even when combined with a diet and exercise-are not enough to keep blood sugar levels under control. Some people with type 2 diabetes may need to inject insulin. At the moment, the only way to incorporate insulin into the body is by injections or using an insulin pump. If a person tries to take insulin in the form of a pill, the digestive acids and juices present in the stomach would cause the medication to should fail, which would suppress its effect.
Today, insulin injections are not painful because the needles are very thin. Insulin pumps (which send insulin through a thin tube that is placed under the skin) reduce the amount of injections needed.
There are different types of insulin, destined for different purposes. The type of insulin you use and the way you use it will depend on what is best for you and your daily routine.
Once you have injected the insulin, you will not be able to prevent it from affecting you. If you inject insulin but forget to eat, your blood sugar levels can get too low. That’s why you should try not to skip any food. If your parents remind you to eat after you inject the insulin, it is probably because they care about you and not because they are trying to annoy you.
The team that is treating your diabetes will teach you how and when to inject insulin.
Check blood sugar levels
Checking your blood sugar levels is also part of your treatment plan. It allows you to check the effectiveness of the other components of the treatment plan and is the only way to know how you are controlling your diabetes every day.
The treatment team may recommend that you use a continuous glucose monitor. This monitor is a device that you carry on and that measures blood sugar concentrations throughout the day, every few minutes. It has a needle-shaped sensor that is placed under the skin. The more measurements are made the easier it will be for the medical team to adjust the amount of insulin you need and modify the diabetes control plan in order to improve the control of blood sugar levels.
A blood glucose meter shows you what your blood sugar level is. Your doctor may also tell you about other tests that measure blood sugar, called the hemoglobin A1c test. So you know how these levels have been in the months before the analysis.
How to combine everything
Sometimes treatment and management of diabetes may seem like a complicated task. But the team that’s treating your diabetes is here to help you. So that you can check your diabetes management plan every time you need it, it should be easy to understand, detailed and written.
The good news about type 2 diabetes is that if you follow the steps of the treatment plan that we just mentioned, you will get your blood sugar levels to recover healthier parameters. For some people with type 2 diabetes, this may mean that they do not need to take medication anymore.
In addition to the treatments mentioned above, you may also hear about alternative treatments for diabetes, such as herbal remedies and vitamin or mineral supplements. These practices can be risky, especially if people leave the treatment plan that their doctor has given them. Therefore, if in doubt, consult with the team that is treating your diabetes.