Type 2 Diabetes 101: What You Need To Know

You probably already know that type 2 diabetes has something to do with your blood sugar and insulin. Here are some things that you may not know that can help you manage this disease if you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed.

What goes wrong when you have type 2 diabetes

Your pancreas makes insulin, which is a hormone. Like other hormones, insulin serves as a kind of messenger in your body. It signals cells to allow in blood sugar so that your body can use it as energy.

When you have type 2 diabetes, the cells don’t respond to insulin, which is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas responds by producing more insulin, but eventually it can’t keep up and doesn’t produce enough to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Experts don’t know exactly what causes type 2 diabetes, but some things make it more likely you’ll develop the disease. Risk factors include:

Complications related to type 2 diabetes

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes raises the risk you’ll develop a plethora of other health conditions. For example, people with type 2 diabetes are far more likely to develop heart disease than people without diabetes.  Your risk of having high blood pressure, a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems is dramatically higher.

Another problem that is far more common among people who have type 2 diabetes is neuropathy, which is a form of nerve damage caused by excess sugar in the bloodstream. It can cause tingling, numbness, pain, and sometimes leads to loss of feeling in your feet or hands.

What you can do

Whether you’re worried about developing type 2 diabetes because you have risk factors, or you’ve already been diagnosed with it, there are steps you can take.

Pay close attention to your diet, and choose foods that are higher in fiber and lower in fat and calories. Eat a good balance of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Start exercising. Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate activity most days. Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, play a sport, or find another activity that you enjoy. Even if you can only manage 10  minutes at a time, you’ll be doing your body good.

By eating a healthy diet and adding exercise to your routine, you may well lose weight. Staying in a healthy weight range helps lower your risk of developing either type 2 diabetes or complications such as heart disease and offers numerous health benefits.

You should also have regular checkups with your family health care provider. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, our staff at Family Care will help you develop a health plan to help you avoid developing additional conditions, as well as help you understand the most appropriate treatment.

If you have questions about type 2 diabetes, book an appointment with us online or by phone. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you identify the best steps for you to take toward a healthier lifestyle.

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