According to a recent study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2 out of 5 Americans will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.1 This common condition begins with a process called “insulin resistance”. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large organ behind the stomach. Normally, insulin breaks down the carbohydrates you eat and turns them into glucose, or “blood sugar”. The glucose then travels through the bloodstream, providing energy and nourishment. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body starts to “resist” the insulin it produces and stops carrying glucose into the body’s cells. The pancreas tries to compensate for the added demand for insulin by making more. Over time, the pancreas can no longer keep up with the body’s increased need for insulin. Excess sugar accumulates in the bloodstream and begins to cause long-term damage.
If a person with type 2 diabetes does not properly manage their condition, they will eventually need insulin injections. In the early stages of insulin resistance, a person is said to have pre-diabetes, which can often be reversed through diet, exercise, weight loss, and medical supervision. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes because it usually develops in adulthood, most commonly in people middle-aged and older. However, as childhood obesity increases, we are seeing more type 2 diabetes in children and young adults.
There are a number of risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. One is genetics – a tendency to develop condition seems to run in families. However, lifestyle plays a significant role. People who are overweight and not physically active are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, especially if they have a lot of belly fat. In fact, obesity is thought to be a factor in in 55% of type 2 diabetes cases, and the more fatty tissue a person has, the greater their risk of developing the disease. A diet high in sugar and saturated fats is a contributing factor, as are smoking and drinking alcohol. Stress and inadequate sleep are also believed to increase the risk of developing the disease.
Type 2 diabetes tends to develop slowly and some may have it for years before finally getting diagnosed. Some people don’t develop symptoms for a long time. This puts them at risk because untreated type 2 will begin to cause damage to the body, even if the person does not yet have symptoms such as these:
Type 2 diabetes has to be carefully managed to keep complications from developing. Long term, inadequately managed type 2 diabetes can cause a variety of complications:
With proper management and a healthy lifestyle, people with type 2 diabetes can travel well through life with diabetes. This requires a combination of proper nutrition, exercise, weight loss (if necessary) and medication:
As a newly diagnosed diabetes patient, we had a 2:00 consultation with you yesterday at the Braden Center, and it was a life saver, maybe literally.
You gave us so much practical help, and thankfully that included info/directions on Hypoglycemia plus a tube of glucose tablets, so we were shocked but prepared when George awakened at 1:00 AM drenched in sweat, very cold, dizzy and kind of stunned. BS = 57. We followed your directions, my partner ate 4 glucose tablets, we tried to stay calm and in about 20-30 minutes, he was out of danger at BS = 101. If we had not had our consultation with you, we would have felt utterly panicked and just do not know with what result. So please add us to what must be a very long list of profoundly grateful patients.
We also want to thank you for everything else about our meeting with you. You really calmed us down and gave us so much to feel positive about, and for me, you really helped ease my fears. We have said to each other many times how lucky we feel to have been connected with you — along with all of your knowledge and experience, you have a truly exceptionally wonderful presence and we are so grateful to be beneficiaries of that.
The way the team at the Braden Diabetes Center explained diabetes, where you are currently at, and what you are trying to achieve with your diet. They provide excellent information! They are very knowledgeable, very calm and personable - during my time at the center, I never feet like I was going to a doctors appointment.
The Certified Diabetes Educators had a very dynamic understanding of what diabetics go through on a daily basis. I felt very comfortable at the center and I received good feedback from my care team. The Educator made some good suggestions about engaging in various exercises and athletic activities to help manage my condition.
The care I received at the Braden Diabetes Center left me with the feeling that I was more in control of my diabetes.
I was inquiring about a dietary plan to help manage my diabetes. I really appreciate that the Certified Diabetes Educators gave us an actual list of foods to choose from that you can buy at the store, including brand names, not just general food groups to try and pick from.
Taking steps to manage your diabetes does more than lower your blood glucose and improve your health. It significantly reduces your risk of serious long-term complications and helps build the confidence you need for successful lifelong diabetes management.
The Diabetes Care Program at Marin General Hospital provides a continuum of expert care and resources for diabetes patients, their families, and caregivers. With the proper education, support, and medical supervision, patients can learn to successfully manage their diabetes and live healthier lives.
Click here to listen, as Dr. Linda Gaudiani explains how Marin General Hospital partners with you to help make life with diabetes a full and satisfying journey
1. Eureka Alert: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-08/tl-tld081214.php