Type 2 Diabetes Treatments Options That Could Restore Your Health
Type 2 diabetes is so prevalent that millions of adults are now be classified as diabetic. When left untreated, it’s a condition that impacts almost every facet of your health.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, it’s time to consider treatment options. Treatments for type 2 diabetes are more effective than ever, and many patients can reverse this condition with medication and lifestyle changes.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
One of the most important fuel sources for your body is glucose, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body absorbs and uses this form of energy. Depending on a number of different factors, you might be diagnosed with this disease if your body resists the effects of insulin or you cannot produce enough insulin to control your glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes was originally known as adult-onset diabetes because it generally didn’t occur in younger patients. Over the last few years, however, it’s become much more prevalent among children and teenagers. Like many other chronic medical conditions, catching diabetes early could help you avoid the life-altering side effects of this disease.
The Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes
One of the most difficult aspects of Type 2 diabetes is many people have it for years without knowing. That’s because the side effects develop slowly and can easily be confused with other medical issues. All patients who are at risk of developing diabetes should keep a close eye on their eating and drinking habits. Diabetes often results in unusual hunger pangs, binge eating, frequent urination, intestinal distress, bloating, and increased thirst. Many patients also experience changes to their weight without any changes to their activity level or diet.
The first test most patients are given is the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. The A1C is a pain-free blood test that allows a doctor to track a patient’s average blood sugar over months. It also gives the doctor a better look at how effectively the patient’s blood is delivering oxygen to the body. An A1C test that comes back between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered to be prediabetes. If the test comes back higher than 6.4 percent, the patient is diabetic.
The A1C has become the most common test for diabetes, but it can be inaccurate if the patient is pregnant or has a medical condition that affects their red blood cells. For those patients, a blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test must be administered.
Important Lifestyle Changes to Make
The vast majority of diabetic patients can improve or completely reverse their condition with lifestyle changes. Even if medications are prescribed, the patient should make sweeping changes to their diet and exercise habits.
A healthy weight is the most effective way to take control of diabetes. A relatively healthy adult should have a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. Patients who are unsure of how to bring their weight under control should speak with their primary healthcare provider about lifestyle changes and fitness strategies. It’s vital to speak with your doctor about diet and fitness options if you have any other conditions that affect your ability to exercise.
There’s no single eating strategy that works for every diabetic patient, but there are some dietary tips that will positively impact the vast majority of these individuals. When dietary changes are made, patients must continue to carefully test their blood sugar multiple times a day.
The Best Foods for Diabetics
The major difference between a standard healthy diet and a diet specifically designed for diabetes is that diabetics need to pay closer attention to the sugar and carbohydrate content of each food and beverage they consume. For example, even if you’re eating healthy fruits like bananas, be aware of the higher sugar and carb content.
Here are 5 great foods for diabetics:
- Apples: You’ve probably heard people say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and this happens to be true. According to a study published by Ohio State University, people who eat one apple per day experience a forty percent reduction in their bad cholesterol. This healthy decrease is caused by the specific antioxidants found in apples.
- Carrots: Besides improving immune function and vision, carrots are also good at managing diabetes. A small portion of carrots is considered by the American Diabetes Association to be a “free food,” which means it does not even need to be factored into a meal plan.
- Fatty Fish: People who eat fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, halibut and salmon at least twice a week have a lower risk of abnormal heartbeat, high blood pressure and inflammation. Fish is low in cholesterol and saturated fat (bad fat), and contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Blueberries: The regular consumption of blueberries helps keep blood sugar at a normal level. They contain flavonoids, which have an anticancer effect and lower the risk of diabetes.
- Yogurt: People who eat two ounces of yogurt per day lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 12 percent. When you choose yogurt, go for the fat free variety and the kind without any added sugar.
The Worst Foods for Diabetics
The best foods for diabetics are typically the same foods you’d find in just about any healthy meal plan. Be sure to include plenty of fibre, healthy fats, and protein, and avoid foods that are overly processed or too high in sugar.
Here are 5 foods to avoid:
- Biscuits and Sausage Gravy: While this traditional breakfast food may be tasty, it contains the entire daily amount of saturated fat recommended by the American Diabetes Association, plus lots of calories and sodium. If you eat this for breakfast, the rest of your day’s meals will be very restricted.
- Milkshakes: Loaded with carbohydrates, calories and bad fat, milkshakes are one of the worst foods for diabetics. The average sixteen-ounce milkshake contains 114 grams of carbohydrates, 700 calories, 20 grams of fat — and that’s without the whipped cream.
- Fried Chicken: Unfortunately it’s important for diabetics to avoid all fried foods. Fried chicken is a good example of why, as it contains a dangerous amount of cholesterol, fat, calories, carbs and sodium.
- Fruit Juice Drinks: The amount of sugar and calories in store-bought fruit drinks makes them one of the worst foods for diabetics. Unless you specifically seek out the low-calorie versions, you’ll be taking in 31 grams of carbs, 29 grams of sugar, and 130 calories in a single 8=ounce serving.
- Prepackaged Pastries: Preservatives, white flour, sugar and sodium are common components of prepackaged baked goods, and these things can send your cholesterol and risk of heart disease through the roof. These ingredients cause inflammation and make your blood sugar spike.
Professional Diabetes Treatments
Some patients need to supplement their lifestyle changes with medicine such as insulin shots. Your doctor might suggest combining multiple forms of medication to help you control your glucose levels in a number of different ways. Metformin is one of the most popular treatment options for diabetic patients because it does not impact an individual’s blood sugar levels. All this medication does is affect how much insulin their liver produces. Medications that alter blood sugar or change how a patient’s body reacts to insulin are typically reserved for those who are in the advanced stages of diabetes.
How to Restore Your Health
Being diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes should be a sign that it is time to start making comprehensive changes to your life. While your diagnosis might seem overwhelming at first, medications and treatments are more effective than ever. Patients who carefully follow the instructions given to them by their primary healthcare provider and dietitian have a very good chance of reversing this condition and avoiding permanent damage to their bodies.