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If you have diabetes, it affects so many aspects of your life. While medications like biguanides and insulin are effective, it’s a pain to require a regular prescription just to maintain a normal life. However, with lifestyle changes and the assistance of a specialist, you can regain control of your life and possibly even reduce or eliminate your need for routine prescription drugs.

So what is type 2 diabetes and how do you treat it?

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes, also known as hyperglycemia, is an issue that occurs when your blood glucose level elevates too high. You aren’t born with this form of diabetes; you develop it over time, often as a result of poor lifestyle choices. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases of the condition, and as of 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated 29 million Americans had diabetes.

Diabetes classifies as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2013. It’s also the leading cause of kidney failure and adult-onset blindness. Additionally, it’s the leading cause of amputations on lower limbs. 

What Are the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes?

The two type 2 diabetes causes are either your body becomes resistant to insulin or your pancreas stops producing an adequate amount of this hormone. Researchers aren’t sure why it happens, but it does appear that genetics and the following factors play a role:

  • Excess weight
  • Inactivity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Broken beta cells
  • Poor cellular communication

Although your age isn’t one of the type 2 diabetes causes, you’re more at risk if you’re 45 or older. You’re more likely to develop this condition if you have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes. Certain ethnicities are more prone to it as well, including:

  • African-American
  • Alaska Native
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Pacific Islander-American
  • Native American
  • Asian-American

What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

If you have this form of diabetes, you might notice you have an increased thirst and frequent urination. This arises as a result of the sugar pulling fluid from your tissue. In addition, your increased thirst causes you to drink more and urinate more frequently.     

Your body is resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it, so the sugar can’t reach your cells, muscles, and organs. When these areas of your body don’t receive enough sugar, they don’t have enough energy. Ultimately, this may lead to an increase in hunger.

Even though you may compensate for your insulin resistance by eating more, you might lose weight because your body can’t metabolize glucose. Your body then resorts to using other fuels stored in your muscles and fat tissue. 

Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Slow-healing sores, especially on your legs
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark patches of skin in your armpits and on your neck

What Is the Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

Typically, the first step in type 2 diabetes treatment is lifestyle change.

Losing Weight Through Diet

You must start losing weight as soon as possible. When you have excess weight, your cells become resistant to insulin. Diet changes are an important treatment for diabetes for this reason.

Generally, you want to consume a diet loaded with whole grains because these foods are high in fiber, which the body doesn’t break down. Since your body doesn’t digest the fiber, it doesn’t have an impact on your blood sugar.

Incorporating a diet high in fruits and vegetables gives your body the vitamins and minerals it requires to function. On the other hand, you want to avoid starchy foods like potatoes as well as simple sugars because these foods cause blood sugar spikes.

Importance of Exercise

Some evidence show fats cells are more resistant to insulin than muscles cells. Therefore, if you have more muscle cells in your body, you’re able to process the sugar in your blood better. Research indicates even if you’re obese, if you exercise regularly, you’ll have a lower blood sugar.

When you’re losing weight and exercising, you want to take into consideration your body shape. If you have more weight around your waist, your chance of developing type 2 diabetes is greater. Ultimately, you want to exercise to lose weight, especially around your waist, as part of your treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Ultimately, you want to get a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day. You can even break up those 30 minutes by doing 10 minutes of exercise three times per day. It doesn’t matter whether you swim, bike, hike, walk, or dance, as long as you’re getting cardio exercise. You should also work on building muscle mass, so you have more cells that with less insulin resistance.

Understand Type 2 Diabetes

Knowing what is diabetes and what causes it can help you make lifestyle changes to prevent it or reduce your reliance on medications to control your symptoms. Not to mention, you’re reducing your risk of other health conditions at the same time.

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