What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is the presence of too much sugar in your blood. Your body processes the foods you eat into fuel, and glucose, also known as sugar, is a significant source of energy. When you eat, your body breaks your food down, then releases the glucose from that meal or snack into your bloodstream.
Your pancreas releases insulin, which your cells you to absorb the glucose and use it for energy. Insulin helps the glucose get out of your blood and into your cells. If you do not produce enough insulin, or if your cells are not using the insulin present efficiently enough, then the glucose remains in your blood. This is known as high blood sugar, and persistently high sugar is known as diabetes.
Those with Type 1 diabetes have the disease because the pancreas does not work properly and produces insufficient or no insulin. Most with Type 1 are born with the disorder and have symptoms starting in childhood. Those with Type 1 diabetes much use supplemental insulin to help control their blood sugar, and they will have this disease for their entire lives.
Type 2 diabetes, though, is a form of the disease that develops over time, usually as a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices. Most people with diabetes have this form. When your body produces less insulin, or becomes insulin-resistant, you have the Type 2 form of this disease. Insulin resistance means your cells no longer respond adequately to insulin when it is in your bloodstream, so you have excess glucose.
This usually triggers the production of more insulin, which can lead to further insulin resistance by your cells. This cycle is hard to break for many.
There are many risk factors that can lead to an eventual diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. If you have any of these, you should work hard to control your diet and practice healthy lifestyle habits that can help you prevent this disease. Risk factors common to Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, eating unhealthy foods, leading a sedentary life, living with extreme or chronic stress, having a family history of the disease, smoking, or have a medical condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, a hormone imbalance, or hypertension.
Your doctor may indicate that you have several risk factors that place you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are regularly elevated beyond the normal range but do not yet exceed the threshold designated for Type 2 diabetes, you are diagnosed with prediabetes. You have started to develop insulin resistance, you have many markers that place you at risk, and if you do not make some changes to how you live and eat, you will very likely develop Type 2 diabetes very soon.
Diagnosis Of Type 2 Diabetes
Diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes involves several medical tests to create a definitive picture of your health. The first test is to monitor your average blood sugar level for the past few months. The A1C test (glycated hemoglobin), will measure how much blood sugar is attached to the hemoglobin in your blood.
This is a good indicator of long-term insulin resistance or high glucose levels. If you test with an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher two times, you have diabetes, and if your results indicate a percentage between 5.7 and 6.4, you have prediabetes. Anything below 5.7 percent is normal and not cause for concern.
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Not everyone is eligible for the A1C test. If you are pregnant, have a hemoglobin variant, or if this test is not available where you live, your doctor may perform one or more other tests to monitor your glucose levels. The most common are random blood sugar tests and fasting blood sugar tests. A random test is taken at any time, regardless of when you last ate, while a fasting test is taken after not eating overnight. The results of these tests will tell your doctor how much glucose is in your blood at any given time.
A fasting blood sugar less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is normal, while levels between 100-125 mg/dL indicate prediabetes. Levels greater than 126 mg/dL on a fasting test show diabetes. For a random test, levels greater than 200 mg/dL are cause for concern and usually indicate diabetes, as well.
An oral glucose tolerance test may be ordered for some with diabetes risk factors. This test starts with an overnight fast, a fasting test, then drinking a sugary liquid. Over the next few hours, blood glucose levels are measured several times. This tells your physician how will your body processes glucose over time, and results of 200 mg/dL after two hours usually indicate diabetes.
If you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or have other risk factors for diabetes, you should have regular blood glucose monitoring beginning at age 45. Normal results mean you will not need to be tested for a few years, but borderline results mean you should monitor your glucose levels more frequently.
Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes is a wake-up call telling you to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. You can change the foods you eat to include more that will not raise your blood sugar, helping you keep your glucose in check. Below are the top 101 foods that you can eat that will not significantly raise your blood sugar levels.
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