Every day in America, someone receives the news that they have type 2 diabetes. While type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, with tens of millions of Americans living with the condition, it can come as a shock when you find out that you are now one of them. Worry about how diabetes will affect your lifestyle and whether it will lead to further health complications can be overwhelming. But living with type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean living a less full life, nor does it mean that you are necessarily at risk for the many potential health problems associated with the condition.
With thoughtfulness, vigilance, and common-sense steps like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly (and, maybe, medication or insulin), you can keep type 2 diabetes in check.
Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
Also called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 diabetes typically develops after the age of 35. In recent years, however, an increasing number of younger adults are being diagnosed with the condition.
Diabetes develops when the body does not turn carbohydrates from food into energy as it is supposed to. Specifically, people with diabetes struggle with the level of glucose (sugar) in their blood because the body’s natural ability to regulate the amount of glucose in the bloodstream is compromised.
The diminished regulatory functioning experienced by individuals with diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce enough insulin or the inability to use the insulin to sufficiently maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When functioning properly, the pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise. That insulin is what opens the door for blood sugar to get into the body’s cells, where it can provide needed energy.
As opposed to those with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 can produce some of their own insulin, but it is often in insufficient quantities to do the job. That is because the cells that need glucose put up resistance to the insulin trying to deliver it, leaving the sugars to build-up in the bloodstream.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, along with genetics and age, increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Importance of Monitoring and Controlling Glucose and Insulin Levels
These imbalances in blood glucose and insulin levels are why monitoring and maintaining the right levels of both are so critical to living with type 2 diabetes.
Traditional glucose monitoring involved pricking a finger multiple times a day to get and test blood samples, an undoubtedly inconvenient and uncomfortable process. Now, finger-prick glucose monitoring is no longer necessary due to advancements in technology. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
There Is No Magic “Diabetes Diet,” But Eating Well Can Help You Control Your Type 2 Diabetes
One of the biggest concerns for folks diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is what they can – and can’t – eat. Since every person’s body responds differently to different types of food, there is no single “diabetes diet.”
Several types of diets and eating patterns can help you manage your type 2 diabetes—from Mediterranean to low-carb to vegetarian. No matter what tack you take, you should include plenty of non-starchy vegetables, avoid added sugars and refined grains as much as possible, and choose whole, minimally processed foods. Swap out foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty beef and butter, with foods rich in unsaturated fats, like fish and olive oil.
People with type 2 diabetes should consult with their physician or a certified dietician before embarking on any dramatic dietary changes.
Working Out Works
Obesity is one of the most significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that losing weight through diet and exercise can have a considerable impact on your health. Losing modest amounts of weight can improve your blood sugars and other diabetes outcomes for those with type 2 diabetes. Speak with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Insulin and Medication
While diet, exercise, and vigilant glucose monitoring can be enough for many people to control their type 2 diabetes, some people need medication or insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Several types of drugs, either by themselves or in combination with each other, can work in different ways to lower your blood sugar.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes With Continuous Glucose Monitoring
With easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status— Continuous Glucose Monitoring is a game-changer for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.