Type 2 diabetes is usually picked up during a routine examination for another condition. That’s because the chronic condition doesn’t usually produce symptoms in the beginning. In fact, a person may live with type 2 diabetes for many years without knowing it.
The faulty mechanics that underpin type 2 diabetes can eventually cause symptoms to surface, however.
How? It helps to first understand the processes that cause type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes means your pancreas is not performing how it should – namely, it does not produce enough of the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar levels or the cells do not sufficiently absorb blood sugar.
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood; it comes from the food you eat, and is your body’s main source of energy.
Blood sugar – like many other substances in the body – needs to be regulated.
If you have too much blood sugar in your body for a prolonged period of time, it starts to damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs.
You may be alerted to this damage through a series of subtle but sinister signs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs to watch out for include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
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As the health body points out, recognising early signs and symptoms of high blood sugar can help you treat the condition promptly.
How to treat blood sugar
There are two key components to managing blood sugar levels – dietary modifications and exercise.
You can technically eat any type of food if you have type 2 diabetes but you should drastically cut back on certain items.
Certain carbohydrates are the worst offenders before they are broken down into glucose relatively fast, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
Some of the main culprits are baked potatoes, refined breakfast cereals and white-flour products.
These items have a high glycaemic ranking.
The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.
It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
You should therefore opt for low and medium GI foods to stabilise blood sugar levels.
- Some fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
According to the NHS, you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week to lower blood sugar levels.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” says the health body.
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