When it comes to chronic health diseases, some are associated with genetics or family history and others with lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes usually is associated with the behavioral choices that we make in our lives.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to being obese and/or engaging in a sedentary lifestyle. In addition, being older than 50, being a member of an ethnic minority group and having a family history of the disease are risk factors for the disease.
Type 2 diabetes pertains to your body’s insulin not functioning at adequate levels. Insulin is produced in your pancreas and helps control your glucose levels (blood sugar) by guiding them into your body’s cells for energy production. If you suffer from Type 2 diabetes, that means your cells are not sensitive to insulin. Therefore, your body cannot effectively use the glucose. This is a mechanism that triggers your body needing more glucose because it needs energy,
Type 2 diabetes can be a killer. The excess glucose not used by your body’s cells can lead to plaque buildup along your blood vessels. This plaque buildup may lead to heart disease and strokes. Individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for developing permanent vision damage or having limbs amputated. Therefore, it is important to get your glucose levels regularly evaluated, especially if you are an older adult who is either obese or does not engage in regular physical activity.
Many times, there are signs and symptoms associated with the disease. You may suffer from overall feelings of weakness in the body, thirst, blurred vision, excessive urination and wounds that do not heal properly. You may also suffer from hunger, since your brain is triggering hunger sensations to get more glucose into your body.
If you suspect that you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes, the first step is contacting your physician. The doctor will administer tests to assess the glucose levels in your body. If you are diagnosed with the disease, your physician may prescribe medications to assist you with the excess glucose in your body. He also may suggest that you go on a diet and engage in physical activity.
According to WebMD.com, there are precautions you can take in order to reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes:
- Lose weight: Just losing 7 to 10% of your weight can lessen your risk for the disease.
- Be active: Getting even 30 minutes of daily physical activity, even walking, can help ward off the disease.
- Watch your diet: Avoid certain foods rich in highly processed carbs, sugary drinks and foods filled with trans or saturated fats.
- Smoking: This coupled with excess glucose may increase your risk for heart disease and amputations of limbs. Therefore, if you are a smoker, you should try to stop.
- Other measures: Getting more sleep or avoiding excessive sleep can help decrease the risk for diabetes. Controlling stress also can be of great help.