Previously referred to as adult onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of this increasingly prevalent illness. Most experts agree that diabetes is singlehandedly responsible for the progressively heavy burden on our healthcare system. Whether aiming to prevent diabetes or healthfully live with it, diabetes management is more important than ever.
Diabetes describes a group of diseases characterized by abnormally high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin is required to deliver glucose from the blood into the cells. If the insulin doesn’t function properly, glucose builds up in the blood and can lead to a wide range of health problems.
The following eight facts will help people comprehend the scope and far-reaching implications of type 2 diabetes:
- The number of Americans with diabetes has tripled over the last 30 years. Today, about 24 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control predict that one in three Americans may have it by the year 2050. According to Mary Ann Banerji, MD from the Diabetes Treatment Center at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, “The burden of diabetes is much greater than many people thought.”
- Often a consequence of being overweight, type 2 diabetes can manifest in one of two ways. Either a person’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin or his or her body’s cells are insulin resistant – meaning that the cells don’t respond to insulin as they should. Insulin resistance makes insulin less effective at lowering blood sugar levels.
- Lumped under the title of healthy lifestyle changes, experts tout the following four approaches to be an ideal combo for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes: eating a healthy diet, getting daily physical exercise, sleeping soundly throughout the night and managing stress.
- Fatigue is one of the most prevalent symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels stable is the best way to beat diabetes-related fatigue. Because glucose is the body’s primary means for creating energy, having excess amounts in the blood instead of the cells causes fatigue. In addition, proper cellular nourishment (such as with a varied and healthy diet, a multi-vitamin and/or NT Factor) helps the body’s cells better utilize the glucose it does receive.
- High blood glucose levels can cause health problems ranging from mild to severe. Uncontrolled diabetes complications include heart disease, liver disease, nerve damage, blindness, kidney disease, kidney failure and preventable leg and foot amputations.
- Not everyone can manage their type 2 diabetes with lifestyle modifications alone. Since fluctuating blood glucose levels can be so damaging the body, it is important for diabetics to be under a physician’s guidance and take medications if necessary.
- Once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is considered to be irreversible. Even with lifestyle modifications and medications, an improperly functioning insulin feedback system appears to be incapable of returning to normal. Keeping blood sugar levels at an ideal level can prevent diabetes’ complications. However, a large intake of sugary foods or beverages will still cause glucose levels to skyrocket.
- A cold, flu or other sudden illness can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Especially during cold and flu season, those with type 2 diabetes are urged to be aware of this association and take the necessary steps to get over their illness while also prioritizing healthy blood glucose levels.
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is not the end of the world. Millions of Americans live long, healthy and happy lives with this disease. However, they can only accomplish this goal through keen awareness and management of their body’s blood sugar levels.