Type 2 diabetes affects your body in more ways than you might imagine. This is why it is so important that you know when you have it, and know how to manage it. Take a look at the risks of this chronic condition.
One dangerous area of your body affected by type 2 diabetes is your cardiovascular system, including your heart and blood vessels. This affects more than just your heart, since your blood is pumping blood throughout your entire body. With type 2 diabetes, you are a higher risk for developing a stroke or heart disease that can lead to having a heart attack. You could get nerve damage or blood vessel damage that causes foot issues and even amputations.
Diabetes is often linked to poor eye health, including conditions like diabetic retinopathy. This is a disease of the eyes where the blood vessels behind the eyes cause the retina to swell and even leak. This can affect your vision and is often not reversible. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes develops this condition, which is the good news. As long as you manage your diabetes properly, you can avoid getting it.
Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes can also affect your kidneys. With your kidneys, a condition called diabetic nephropathy can occur. This is the condition associated with damage to the kidneys as a direct result of diabetes. It is not something everyone will experience, similar to eye conditions. You are at a higher risk of getting it if you donât control your diabetes properly by checking your blood pressure and cholesterol, eating a healthy diet, and getting your blood checked to see what your blood sugar levels are.
Your nerves can also be affected by diabetes, in more ways than you might already know. Nerve damage, also called neuropathy, can affect different parts of your body. For example, it can affect your arousal and reproduction abilities, leading to infertility if you are not able to get an erection. It also affects a femaleâs ability to be aroused. Nerve damage can also cause numbness or tingling in your hands or feet, excessive sweating, or conditions like restless leg syndrome. This makes it difficult to sleep and can be extremely frustrating to deal with.
To avoid these and other complications as a result of type 2 diabetes, see your doctor, take medications, and live a healthier lifestyle to manage your diabetes.
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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.
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.
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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