If you haven’t been officially diagnosed with this form of diabetes, but you suspect you might have it, there are some symptoms to look out for. Like anything, you could have all of these, none of them, or a combination. Definitely talk to your doctor if you suspect you might have type 2 diabetes.
The First Common Signs to Look For
While there are a lot of potential signs and symptoms for type 2 diabetes, there are some that tend to be more common and usually easier to notice. A common sign is when you are losing weight, but you are actually more hungry. This odd dilemma is often the reason why people go to the doctor and then find out that their blood sugar levels are so high they are pre-diabetic or already have diabetes. You may also notice that you have an increased thirst, which then leads to drinking more and urinating more often. You may also have extreme fatigue where you can barely get through the day, even though you used to have much more energy.
There are also some other signs and symptoms you might notice. These may occur alongside the previously-mentioned symptoms, or you may only have them if your diabetes worsens and you did not realize you had the condition. A common one is having blurry vision, since type 2 diabetes affects your blood vessels, which include the blood vessels behind your eyes. Make sure you see an optometrist if you have blurry vision so they can determine if it might be related to diabetes. You may also have dry mouth, excessive weakness, or cuts and sores that do not seem to be healing properly. Headaches can be common, along with getting multiple yeast infections, or itching on the skin. Loss of consciousness is possible, though rare.
When to See a Doctor
If you have any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to see your doctor. You may not have diabetes, but many of these can also point to other possible medical conditions. Do not put off just having a check-up and discussing weird symptoms you might be experiencing. Even if you do not yet have type 2 diabetes, you might be in the pre-diabetic range, which means you have the opportunity to make healthy changes and avoid getting it. This is great news, but only possible if you seek medical attention.
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I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1). Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring
Blood Sugar Monitoring
As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.
Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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