Being diabetic can leave individuals in precarious situations, restricting their lifestyle and preventing them from being able to do a lot of things they would love to do. Even eating can be a real burden. What will help and what will worsen the diabetic condition, is something that always disturbs the mind. For people in this kind of situation, it leads to a seemingly unending search for solutions that will allow them to do the things they love to do, eat and enjoy while ridding them of the condition for good. If you are troubled by Adult-Onset Type 2 Diabetes, or you know someone who is, then read more to see if our guide might help either of you. Let’s start with the basics by trying to understand this condition.
What is Diabetes?
Knowing where to begin is pivotal in any journey. It is important to first understand what diabetes entails. Diabetes is a disorder of insulin (hormone) and blood sugar. The diabetic individual develops high blood sugar levels due to the decreased amount of insulin or the decreased sensitivity of insulin, present in the body.
One thing is common to all diabetes situations and that is; high blood sugar levels. Blood glucose metabolism is the measurement by which it is determined. The reasons for high blood sugar levels in a diabetic person depends on the type of diabetes afflicting the individual. It indicates that something is wrong with the way the individual’s body produces and uses insulin. Diabetes is categorized into two types and they are; Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes usually occurs when for some reason the pancreas is damaged and is unable to produce insulin. This way, the blood sugar level keeps increasing without any insulin to convert it. Type 1 Diabetes is usually thought of as young people’s diabetes as it inflicts younger populations.
Diabetes Type 2
Diabetes Type 2 (often called Adult Onset Diabetes), is quite different. This type is often equated with a poor diet and lifestyle over an extended time. The pancreas is producing insulin quite alright, but the body can’t use the insulin being produced. Eventually, it becomes hard for the body to handle the increasing amount of sugar/ glucose in the blood.
Increased Blood Sugar Level and Its Effects
Too much sugar in the blood is a huge problem since the concentrated sugar molecules in the blood (called glucose) begins to attack and damage blood vessels. But that’s not all. The glucose stays in the bloodstream without entering the cells, so tissues and organs don’t get sufficient energy. This condition, if left for a considerable length of time, can lead to serious complications. In a way, Type 2 Diabetes is the direct opposite of Type 1 Diabetes, because Type 1 Diabetes is a result of too little or no insulin being produced while Type 2 Diabetes has to do with having a high amount of unused insulin.
Having too much insulin is also a big problem. The primary duty of the insulin produced in the pancreas is to keep the amount of sugar present in the blood low to within a certain range. It does this by moving the sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells, achieving two things in the process; Reducing sugar levels in the blood and supplying glucose to the cell, thereby energizing the body. This way, it not only clears out excess glucose from the bloodstream, but it also prevents muscle and organ breakdown.
However, insulin in excess becomes a problem as it naturally increases fat storage, especially when blood sugar levels are elevated, and then prevents the body from using fat for fuel. With time, the huge quantity of fat stored causes the body to gradually lose the ability to utilize insulin effectively (referred to as “insulin resistance”).
One of the early signs of the body storing up too much insulin, which is the marker of Diabetes Type 2, is excessive weight gain. The body starts to store up fat and weight increases. This can lead to overweight and obese related conditions, for example, cardiovascular complications. There’s no cause for alarm for such situations because diet and lifestyle changes can do a great deal in reversing insulin resistance and the associated weight gain.
Checking Blood Sugar Levels
You should always get your blood sugar levels periodically checked by a medical professional. However, it is not always possible. There are some ways that you can monitor your blood sugar levels at home regularly if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Follow this method to get a reading of your blood sugar levels:
- Purchase a home glucose testing kit from Walmart, Amazon or your local pharmacy. ReliOn from Walmart is inexpensive and just as good as expensive brands.
- Make sure you have the monitor, test strips, needles, and wipes.
- Get the blood sugar meter ready.
- Be sure to clean the spot where you want to draw the blood from (usually near the end of the fingertips) with an alcohol wipe.
- With a new lancet, prick the spot to draw blood.
- Bring the tip of the test strip in contact with the blood.
- Wait for a few seconds, the blood sugar meter will give you a reading.
Following levels of blood sugars indicate your condition:
- Normal blood sugar level: Less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) after fasting overnight;
Up to 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) 1-2 hours after a meal.
- Pre-Diabetes: Between 100-125 mg/dL (5.6-7.0 mmol/L) after fasting overnight means you should consider a checkup appointment with your doctor to ascertain the condition.
- Diabetes: 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher after fasting overnight, or higher than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after a meal indicates that you’re diabetic.
Never diagnose the condition yourself. Use this test only to monitor your condition. Whatever the results you get, keep in mind that a single reading isn’t enough to get a solid conclusion and diagnosis, check with a medical practitioner to confirm the state of your health before determining what to do.
Testing your blood sugar levels a few times a day is a great way to gauge what your food and sleep patterns mean to your glucose levels. We recommend keeping a journal and checking how you react to certain foods at various times.
Managing Diabetes with Medication
People who get diagnosed with diabetes, are often given medications to help control the condition. This does not mean you must be on them for life. The goal is to change lifestyle and diet, including safe, appropriate supplements to manage diabetes and overcome diabetes type 2 naturally. The type of drug that you will be given depends on which type of diabetes you have. Diabetic medications can include:
- Amylinomimetic drug
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
- Biguanides like metformin
- Dopamine agonist
- Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors
- GLP-1 receptor agonists
- SGLT 2 inhibitors
Managing and Overcoming Diabetes with Lifestyle Change
Diabetes can be managed through a three-pronged approach. You can modify your eating habits, increase levels of physical activity, and consume supplements that lower blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes should restrict foods that increase blood sugar levels like; canned fruits, processed grains, full-fat dairy, fried foods, foods with high quantities of trans fat and saturated fat, food made from refined flour, and food with a high glycemic load. Glycemic load is a measure of the number of carbohydrates in the food and how quickly a specific food raises blood glucose level.
It has been seen that people with type 2 diabetes can easily manage their condition with diet food that has a low glycemic index. Especially designed diabetes type 2 diet is the key here. A low glycemic diet has proven to be effective in diabetes type 2. People should follow a specific diabetes type 2 eating plan, to help control their diabetes.
People with diabetes should eat more lean protein, high-fiber, fruits, and vegetables, low-fat dairy, healthy vegetable-based fats such as avocado, nuts, canola oil, or olive oil and fewer processed carbs. Controlling carbohydrate intake is key here. Diabetics should watch the glycemic count of everything they consume. If you are interested in a detailed diabetes type 2 eating plan, you can find it on our website.
Studies show that diabetes can be controlled with the help of an increased physical activity. Regular exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipid profiles. It can also help lower high blood sugar levels along with obesity and body weight. Excess body weight is often an indicator and effect of diabetes. It has been seen that 150 minutes of exercise per week decreases the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. The American Diabetes Association recommends aerobic exercise (that raises your heartbeat) and strength training for optimal physical fitness and diabetes control.
An effective way to control blood sugar levels along with a specially designed diabetes type 2 diet is by using supplements. Especially beneficial supplements studied that may help with diabetes type 2 lower increased blood glucose levels. Nutritional supplements should not replace your medication but should work in conjunction to provide you additional benefits. These supplements can include:
- Berberine supplements, which are sometimes as effective as a drug to control blood sugar levels according to this governmental study/studies.
- Vitamin B1
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Green tea
- Bitter melon
- Gymnema leaves
- Fenugreek seed
- Cayenne fruit
Among all these diabetes type 2 supplements the most beneficial is perhaps the Berberine supplement. Diabetes and Berberine are often spoken about together because Berberine provides extensive benefits to diabetic patients. If you want to learn about this supplement more, you can see the detailed relationship between diabetes and Berberine supplements here.