Looking at Type 2 Diabetes

Saturday, 6 February 2016 - 1:04pm

Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolises sugar (glucose), your body’s main source of fuel. It develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.

Exactly why this happens is unknown, although excess weight and inactivity seem to be contributing factors. More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you can often manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.

Symptoms

May develop slowly. Look for: increased thirst and frequent urination, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores or frequent infections.

Complications

Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you’re feeling fine. But diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Controlling your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications.

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if you have diabetes in your family, diet and exercise can help you prevent the disease. If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, the same healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent potentially serious complications. And if you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or halt the progression from prediabetes to diabetes.

  • Eat healthy foods: Choose foods low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.
  • Get physical: Take a brisk daily walk, ride a bike, swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, spread 10-minute or longer sessions throughout the day.
  • Lose excess kilos: If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. Focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart,  more energy and improved self-esteem.
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