Type 2 Diabetes – A Walkthrough of Complications and Prevention
Glucose is an essential source of energy for the human body. Every time you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, your body produces glucose. It is then transported to different cells in the body by insulin – a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. Your body naturally produces insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and help metabolism.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition, which affects how your body metabolizes glucose found in the bloodstream. In this condition, your body either resists the effects of insulin or fails to produce enough of it to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes Complications
Type 2 diabetes affects many of the major organs, such as your heart, nerves, blood vessels, kidneys, and eyes. The best way to prevent such big complications is to control your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes in its early stages is quite easy to ignore, especially when you feel just fine. Its long-term complications develop gradually and may become life-threatening over time. Here are some of the potential complications of type 2 diabetes:
- Heart and blood vessel disease
Diabetes gradually leads to the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and atherosclerosis (or narrowing of blood vessels).
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
A person with high blood sugar experiences numbness, tingling, pain or burn at the tips of the fingers or toes, which gradually spreads upward. Once it affects your limbs, you lose the sense of feeling.
High blood sugar levels affect your digestion and cause other problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea. Some men also experience erectile dysfunction among other issues.
- Kidney damage
A person with diabetes may also suffer from kidney failure or irreversible kidney disease that requires dialysis or even kidney transplant.
- Eye damage
Diabetic individuals often suffer from serious eye diseases like cataracts, which can cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina, eventually leading to blindness.
- Slow healing
Cuts and wounds caused to diabetic individuals can lead to serious infections that take a longer than usual time to heal. Serious damage may sometimes require foot or leg amputation.
- Hearing impairment
People with diabetes often experience problems hearing among others issues.
- Skin conditions
Diabetic individuals are more susceptible to skin problems like bacterial and fungal infections than others.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, irrespective of its existence in your immediate family. In case you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, switch to a healthy lifestyle to avoid potential complications.
Making some lifestyle changes helps slow down or stop its progression in prediabetics. Here are some healthy lifestyle changes to adopt:
- Eat healthy foods
You need to pick foods that are low in carbohydrates and fats but high in dietary fiber. Consider eating more fruits, whole grains, and raw vegetables.
- Get active
Pre Diabetics should add a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of low-intensity exercises or 15 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises to their everyday schedule. Start with a brisk walk or riding a bike and slowly switch to running and swimming on alternate days.
- Lose weight
Meet with a dietician in person and check if you are overweight. You may need to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight to reduce the risk of potential complications.
While diabetes can occur to any individual, make sure you have an active lifestyle if you have it in your family history. Now that you know the potential complications of type 2 diabetes and ways to prevent it, start working your way to attaining a healthy lifestyle at the earliest.