Diabetes and weight loss: It is the yin and yang of optimal health. There's no question about it. If you're overweight and have type 2 diabetes, dropping pounds lowers your blood sugar, improves your health, and helps you feel better.
But before you start a weight loss plan, it's important to work closely with your doctor or diabetes educator -- because while you're losing weight, your blood sugar, insulin, and medications need special attention.
Make no mistake -- you're on the right path. "No...
The risk for type 2 diabetes typically increases with age. In the absence of risks, testing should begin after age 45. One of the biggest jumps in type 2 diabetes was among men.
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
being overweight or obese
a sedentary lifestyle
a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and low in fiber and whole grains
a history of type 2 diabetes in your immediate family (mother, father, sister, or brother)
African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Native Alaskans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders also have an increased risk.
Having diabetes, in turn, increases the danger of heart disease, as well as a range of problems associated with impaired circulation, such as eye disease and nerve damage.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body can't control blood glucose levels properly. Normally, the digestive tract breaks down food into glucose, a form of sugar. After being absorbed, it is released into the blood. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, stimulates cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy.
Type 1 diabetes, which typically shows up in childhood, is caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes occurs when tissues in the body gradually become resistant to the effect of insulin. The pancreas responds by churning out more of the hormone. But eventually it can't keep up, and blood sugar levels begin to climb.
That's bad for many reasons. High glucose levels damage nerve and blood vessels, leading to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and gum infections. Advanced type 2 diabetes can result in blindness and the need to amputate limbs that no longer get adequate circulation.
One of the main causes of the type 2 diabetes epidemic, researchers believe, is the rise in obesity. Over time, excess weight makes cells in the muscles, liver, and fat tissue less responsive to insulin -- a condition called insulin resistance.
Another driver of type 2 diabetes, also linked to the others, is inactivity. Lack of activity increases the risk of obesity, of course. But a sedentary lifestyle may contribute directly to type 2 diabetes risk, as well. Studies show that overweight or obese people who become active improve their blood sugar control, even if they don't lose weight.
An estimated 7 million people in the U.S. have this serious disease and don't know it. An estimated 79 million people have prediabetes, meaning they have elevated blood sugars not yet high enough to be diagnosed with the disease. However, with prediabetes you are at risk for diabetes in the future. It's easy for doctors to check for diabetes using a simple blood test that measures blood sugar levels or a test called a hemoglobin A1c. Unfortunately, many people aren't tested because they either don't have symptoms or the symptoms are so mild that they don't notice them. Talk to your doctor about being tested, especially if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms:
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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