Type 2 Diabetes is a well-known, potentially life-long disease. It seems to be more prevalent now than it ever has before. The good thing is you can control it by monitoring and adjusting your diet and exercise habits. If these things just don’t work for you, medication is the next step. I know I’m awful about taking medicine, especially if I don’t really want it. I’m not the only one out there like this and if type 2 isn’t controlled, it can spiral quickly into a very messy situation! No one wants that!! Here are some interesting facts about type 2 diabetes.
- The Big D…Diagnosis – When your doctor tells you that your A1c level is over 6.5, you are essentially being told that your pancreas isn’t keeping up with proper release of insulin. Glucose is released into the blood, which causes the pancreas to kick into action releasing insulin. This then allows the glucose to be turned into energy for the body. Risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases when your A1c is between 5.7 and 6.4; normal range is 4 -5.6.
- Symptoms or Symptomless? – Some people with type 2 diabetes don’t have symptoms at all. This may sound like a good thing, but I’m not so sure. No symptoms means that pesky, out of whack sugar level is wreaking havoc on your body…unbeknownst to you! Others have symptoms and let’s face it, some aren’t going to be pleasant. You will possibly experience a need for the bathroom often (most likely when there isn’t one available…Murphy’s Law), you’ll be very thirsty, you may have unplanned weight loss/gain, or weakness/fatigue, numbness and possible tingling in your hands and feet. Most of these are manageable or tolerable, but still very annoying.
- Complications, We All Have Them – Some of the complications of type 2 diabetes can be more than just annoying. They can be downright scary!! Think kidney damage/failure, vision issues, blindness, developing heart disease, strokes, depression, and amputation (yikes)! These complications are enough to encourage you to control this disease through diet, exercise and possibly medication!
- Who is Elliot P. Joslin? – He was the first doctor to specialize in diabetes. He started the first diabetes registry ever which was compiled from patients beginning in his third year of medical school. His aunt and mother both had diabetes.
- Diabetic Friendly Meals Really Exist? – Yes, they really do exist and yes, some can be quite tasty! Some things to think about are adding in extra veggies or substitutions. For instance, if you have a hankering for spaghetti, fine go for it! Just substitute some of the white pasta for whole wheat or better yet use spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini! Eating diabetic friendly meals is a great way to combat Type 2 diabetes. Another perfect way to do this is to order from a meal service, such as www.magickitchen.com. They have a plethora of diabetic friendly meals at great prices, prepared and delivered directly to you!
- Move That Booty…and the rest of your body – Cardio and weight training are some exercises we all need to do, not just those with Type 2. It doesn’t have to be boring, though. Go for a walk…this time of year is great for this! Not only will you be getting out of the house, but you’ll also get to see some of the signs of the changing season. I don’t know about you, but seeing new life popping up all over the place is revitalizing and encourages me to keep moving. As for the weight training, you don’t have to be a member of a gym. You have weights right in your own home. Start slow with some cans of veggies and move up to a gallon of water (in the jug, of course) to work your arms and upper body.
- Your Age Matters – If you are 45 or older guess what? You should be tested for type 2 diabetes. Why? Simple, it’s a risk factor. Pair that up with other risk factors such as a close family member is diabetic, you don’t move your body enough, high blood pressure, or having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you should be tested even younger. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of risk factors!
- Always Brush Your Teeth – This is something my brother-in-law used to tell my kids when they were little! He’s right, though…and this is extremely important if you have diabetes. Dry mouth, thrush, and periodontal gum disease are things the diabetic should watch for. Did you know that gum disease can actually make controlling your glucose levels even harder? Teeth and gums aren’t just for eating anymore!
- Love Thy Kidneys – Kidney failure is not pretty. People with type 2 diabetes make up 44% (ish) of the cases of chronic kidney failure. This is even when diabetes is under control! Be sure to discuss those kidneys with your doctor.
- One Doctor, Two Doctor, Three Doctor, Four? – Get used to seeing more than one doctor. Once you have type 2 diabetes, you need a team of doctors to monitor your health. That care team is going to make sure that no stone is left unturned, nothing has been missed. We’re talking a primary care doc, a dentist (see #8), an ophthalmologist (see #3), a dietician, and possibly an endocrinologist. I didn’t even count the cardiologist if you have a history of heart disease.
- It’s a Numbers Game – You will get used to checking your glucose levels. Not just at the doctor’s office, either. You should be monitoring them at home as well. What are the numbers you should be looking for? Normal blood glucose ranges (for those with type 2) before eating a meal should be around 70-130 and less than 180 1-2 hours after the beginning of a meal. Bedtime might look a little different and range from 90-150. Your doctor should have prescribed a meter and test strips for you to use. Because I forget things so easily, my suggestion is to keep a log to share with your doctor.
- It’s Greek, errr…Latin? – Random fact here…the word diabetes is actually Greek for “siphon”. What?? Remember one of the possible symptoms is having to use the bathroom a lot? Well, in this case, the ample amount of urine associated with diabetes is the “siphon” being referred to. The Latin comes in with “mellitus”, or honey (sweet). This was basically thrown on when doctors found out that a diabetic’s urine is sweet. (I’m not going to go into how they discovered this. Use your imagination!)
- Apples to Oranges, I Mean Pears – For quite some time, I’ve heard body types labeled as apples, pears, hourglasses, bananas, spoons, etc. Did you know that those with an apple body shape have a greater risk of developing diabetes than those with pear shapes? Food for thought.
- Men vs Women – Ahh…the age old competition. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t have a victorious ending for either. However, men have the higher risk of death from diabetes than women. Men, listen to your doctors and extend your life expectancy! Please!
- Diet Drinks Need to Go – Drinking soda just isn’t good for you, I’m including the diet stuff, too. Who doesn’t love the bubbly, sweet goodness on a hot day? Well, that drink could be an additional risk to developing type 2 diabetes. The artificial sweetener may just lead to signs of glucose intolerance, which in turn can lead to type 2. I do have a bit of good news, though…especially for coffee drinkers! Those heavy coffee hitters have a lower risk of developing diabetes. The range to be considered a heavy coffee drinker 4-6 8oz cups. Keep in mind that this is not a license to knock back 6 large lattes. I’m talking black coffee.
There you have some fun and not so fun facts on type 2 diabetes. It’s not a pretty disease to have. Remember some key points: diet and exercise are vital and they don’t have to be boring or unpleasant!