TYPE 2 DIABETES
in Plain English
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes glucose.
It’s a pathway for blood to flow through your body. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to feed your body. These nutrients include glucose.
What is glucose?
Glucose is your body’s fuel.
Your body is constantly regulating the amount of glucose in your blood. That way, you always have the energy you need.
This incredible process is managed by insulin. Insulin kind of acts as a key to unlock the door of your cell so that it can remove glucose from your body. That's how insulin naturally cotrols your blood sugar levels.
For most people, this process is so seamless, they don’t even realize it’s happening.
As we know all too well, there are times when something goes wrong. Perhaps the body isn’t producing enough insulin to offset sugar intake. Or the blood cells aren’t complying well with insulin’s orders. If this happens, glucose cannot exit the bloodstream.
Next thing you know, there’s a huge traffic jam of glucose in the bloodstream, one that keeps piling up.
With no way to use up the existing glucose, the glucose traffic jam grows, getting bigger and bigger. This build-up of glucose changes the blood from its normal ‘watery-like’ state into a thicker liquid. Something more like syrup. And if the amount of sugar in someone’s blood reaches a certain level, this person will be diagnosed as diabetic.
So, in a nutshell, diabetes is the body’s inability to process glucose.
When there is too much glucose in your blood, it becomes physically thicker. Similar to syrup.
Now, if your body is made to process blood, you can imagine how hard it would have to work to process something thick like syrup. This can cause some serious short-term and long-term health issues.
The thicker blood puts more pressure on the eye (intraocular eye pressure), which is why diabetes can lead to blurry vision or blindness.
Thick blood slows circulation, preventing the nervous system from getting enough blood. This can lead to nerve damage and neuropathy, a constant tingling or burning feeling in the limbs.
Not enough blood flow can starve outer limbs like the feet and legs. This can lead to complications ending with limb amputations.
Organs like the kidneys, liver, and pancreas need to work harder to filter all that sugar from the body. They can get overworked, leading to organ failure. Plaque begins to build up in the bloodstream, increasing the risk of a stroke.
Worst of all, this puts more pressure on your heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack.
As glucose builds up in the body, your kidneys remove some of it through urine (your kidneys are trying to help your insulin get the job done), making you run for the bathroom more and more.
The lack of ready-to-use energy (your body can’t use its fuel) leads to constant tiredness and fatigue. No matter how many naps you might take.
All of that urination pulls fluids from your body, causing dehydration and an unquenchable thirst. You can drink liters and liters of water, and still be dehydrated.
A tingling or burning feeling in the hands and feet is caused by poor blood circulation and nerve damage. It’s like your foot is asleep and you just can't seem to wake it up.
Remember, your body uses glucose as fuel. If you aren’t getting fuel, your body will think it’s still hungry. Always. Hungry.
Breath that smells foul, like a strong nail polish, is caused by high levels of ketones - even if you’re downing Listerine like there’s no tomorrow.
The buildup of intraocular eye pressure can cause blurry vision or blindness, even if you’ve always had perfect sight.
“Diabetes comes from sugar”
Diabetes does not come from sugar. Diabetes develops when your body is no longer able to make or use insulin, so the sugar you consume cannot be converted into energy or fat. Diabetes is caused when the glucose just hangs around in the body.
“Diabetes always comes with symptoms”
While children with type 1 diabetes will always have symptoms, type 2 diabetes could easily go undiagnosed. There are over 7 MILLION undiagnosed diabetics in the USA alone. That’s why it’s important to get tested!
“Insulin cures diabetes”
There is no known cure for diabetes, including insulin injections. Insulin shots simply give your body an extra dose of the hormone because it's unable to produce enough on its own.
“Diabetes is contagious”
Diabetes is not contagious.
Although diabetes is genetic and runs through some families, it cannot be caught like a cold or a flu.
“Insulin pills help you control diabetes”
You can’t take insulin orally. Because insulin is a protein, if you took it as a pill, it would digest in your stomach and wouldn’t make it to the blood stream. There are other pills and capsules diabetics can take, but they do not include insulin.
“If you have
need to take medicines”
Many diabetics are able to manage their condition with diet and lifestyle changes. There are also natural products to improve your glycemic response. More on that later.
“If you have diabetes,
you need to eat
Most of the foods claiming to be healthy for people with diabetes also raise glucose levels and offer no benefit to diabetics. It’s officially recommended that diabetics eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat.
“If you have diabetes,
you can never eat
chocolate or sweets”
As part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, diabetics can eat chocolate or sweets in moderation.
Most diabetics take oral diabetes medications. Metformin is the most prescribed. It decreases the amount of glucose that you absorb from food and reduces the glucose produced by the liver. If the condition worsens, other oral drugs may be prescribed, including sulfonylureas, GLP1 agonists, DPP4 inhibitors, SGLT2 inhibitors, and others.
Insulin injections are used to control blood glucose levels that are too high to be controlled by oral medications alone. The insulin supplements what your body isn’t producing on its own. Unfortunately, insulin cannot be taken orally. Insulin users have to inject themselves at least twice a day (or more!) depending on their blood sugar levels. A big disadvantage of insulin injections: modern, more effective forms of insulin are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Some insulin users have even started rationing their insulin because they cannot afford the correct amount. Insulin costs have more than doubled in the last 5 years alone!
Are there natural ways to
maintain healthy glucose levels?
The most recommended ways of managing your diabetes are through nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Studies show that eating healthy, getting more exercise and movement into your day, and making other lifestyle adjustments can lower blood sugar.
Some diabetics even use their diagnosis as an opportunity to become the healthiest they’ve ever been!
Your body is unique.
Different than anyone else’s.
There isn’t one universally recommended diabetes diet.
Some foods that spike some peoples’ blood sugar won’t
spike yours, and vice versa. You’ll need to experiment by eating
foods and checking your blood sugar two hours after meals
with a home glucometer to learn what works for you.
Many diabetics use their disease to become the happiest and healthiest they have ever been. Here are some tips for doing that yourself.
Looking at the brighter side of things can help cheer up any day. Finding humor and love in your day to day life will release positivity hormones, lower stress, and lower blood sugar levels.
If you’re a smoker, make the diagnosis the reason you needed to quit. Going smoke-free helps your insulin sensitivity, lowering your blood sugar.
Losing even just a few pounds can really improve the way your body processes glucose. And, in addition to that, weight loss will just make you feel (and look) better overall!
Learn about diabetes. Understand the symptoms. Knowing that you should check your feet a few times a week can be the difference between letting cuts get infected and avoiding infections altogether.
If you don’t have many diabetic friends, meeting some will help you support each other on your journeys to health. You should join an online diabetes community like ‘Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together’ on Facebook. That's where thousands of diabetics support each other and answer each other’s questions 24/7. ‘Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together’ offers free membership to type 2 diabetics, so just search for the group on Facebook and join.
There are many Ayurvedic dietary supplements that can support the healthy function of the pancreas, liver and spleen. There are also specialty supplements formulated specifically for people with diabetes. They promote healthy blood sugar levels through supporting insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and insulin release.
The Ayurveda medical system is very complex. Simply put, it aims to balance the digestive system, endocrine system, and body movement systems (circulatory, respiratory, muscular, and nervous).
Ayurvedic formulas use herbal recipes to create a holistic balance inside the body so you can maintain optimal health, even as a diabetic.
The added support Ayurvedic diabetes supplements gives to your daily nutrition help can be powerful enough to drastically improve your lifestyle and enjoyment as a diabetic.
This infographic explains diabetes in plain English. But it hasn't yet answered the most important questions for your daily life, like:
My doctor said I’m diabetic.
Do I have to stay like this forever?
Is it reversable?
Can neuropathy be beat?
Can I still snack?
What must I do for
diet and fitness?
Can I get my weight down
even if I’m diabetic?
Can I still put sugar in my coffee?
Are artificial sweeteners better?
Can diabetes lead to Alzheimer’s?
high blood sugar?
Can I still eat fruit?
What should I order
when I eat out?
Can I minimize the effect that
diabetes has on my sex life?
How should I deal with
everyone around me?
Is diet soda okay to drink?
Can I ever drink
beer or wine again?
We put together an educational newsletter that will explain all this over the course of a few days.
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