One of the lifestyle diseases on the rise throughout the Western world is Type 2 diabetes. This is a condition that can cause many complications. And it’s preventable.
Type 2 diabetes is completely different from Type 1 diabetes, which is indicated by its other name, adult-onset diabetes (Type1 diabetes is also known as juvenile-onset diabetes). Type 2 diabetes is largely caused by poor lifestyle and diet over many years; the cause of Type 1 diabetes is largely unpredictable and is completely unrelated to lifestyle.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes lead to the pancreas not having enough insulin. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, this is because the beta-cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own autoimmune system. In Type 2 diabetes, however, the lack of insulin is caused by the pancreas being overworked after coping with years of too much sugar/starch in the diet combined with lack of exercise.
Insulin is vital for “unlocking” the tissues and cells in the body so they can absorb sugars (glucose) from the bloodstream. Without insulin, the cells remain “unlocked” and are unable to access the sugars in the bloodstream for energy while the blood sugar levels climb.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have the same initial symptoms, although a blood test can indicate if a person is pre-diabetic and likely to get Type 2 diabetes. The first symptom is excessive urination and extreme thirst. This is because the body tries to get rid of the excess blood sugars via frequent urination. This has the knock-on effect of dehydration, causing thirst.
The second symptom of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is low energy. This is because the cells in the body have no energy in the form of sugar. The body goes into “starvation mode” and begins looking to body fat and tissues as an energy source. While it may appear that one of the causes of Type 2 diabetes could finish right here with weight loss, it doesn’t. The body sends out continual hunger messages to the brain so someone in this condition is likely to eat large amounts in an attempt to satisfy it.
After this, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes progress to the third stage, when diagnosis is usually made. This stage is ketoacidosis, which is caused by the presence of ketones that result from the body burning muscle tissue. This is diagnosed by “ketone breath” and stomach pains. At this stage, hospitalization may be required to rehydrate the body (dehydration can often be extreme at this stage) and to stabilise the body’s blood sugar levels.
If a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is made earlier, hospitalisation will not be required. However, your health professional or diabetes specialist will need to instruct you in managing your Type 2 diabetes and to find the right type of insulin for you.
Those with Type 2 diabetes can be treated with either orally ingested insulin or with injections. Improving the diet away from one that is high in sugar and simple (highly processed) carbohydrates will go a long way in reducing the need for insulin and may even “clear up” Type 2 diabetes altogether. A program of regular exercise is also very beneficial.
The best thing of all is to avoid your chances of Type 2 diabetes altogether. Eating a healthy diet that’s low in sugar, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight all go a long way to preventing Type 2 diabetes.