There are countless reasons why people choose to exercise, but one of the biggest ones for me is for my health. I have a family history of type two diabetes, and I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent the development of the disease. In this article I hope I can inform you of what type two diabetes is, and hopefully give you some extra motivation to keep pushing in your fitness journey.
Diabetes Mellitus: Type Two is a growing issues both in the United States and globally. As of 2012, 29.1 million American or 9.3% of the population had been diagnosed with type two diabetes, and approximately 1.4 million Americans are being newly diagnosed every year. This condition is growing at an alarming rate, and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
So what is this common disease? Type two diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. It’s unknown why this occurs, but it is thought to be related to genetics and environmental factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. In order to better understand type two diabetes it is important to understand the role of insulin and glucose. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from the pancreas to the bloodstream. It enables sugar to enter your cells, and in turn lowers your blood sugar levels. Glucose is a primary source of energy for cells, and can be obtained from food or secreted from the liver. When your blood sugar levels are low, such as during intermittent fasting, your liver breaks down glycogen into glucose to help maintain homeostasis. Diabetic individuals do not properly move sugar from the bloodstream to the cells, and as a results have elevated blood sugar levels. To combat the high blood sugar levels the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas secrete more insulin, but eventually these cells will become exhausted and can no longer meet the body’s insulin needs.
Symptoms of type two diabetes develop rather slowly. You can have the disease for years, and never notice any issues. Classic signs of type two diabetes includes increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing wounds, frequent infection and areas of darkened skin. Diabetes can be diagnosed rather easily with one of three different types of test. One test option is an A1C test, which indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. A fasting blood sugar test is another common evaluation used to determine if you are diabetic. The final test option is a random blood sugar test in which a blood sample is taken at a random time of day. The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening for type two diabetes beginning at the age of 45, and possibly earlier if you are overweight.
There are risk factors for type two diabetes you need to be aware of. The primary risk factor is being overweight. Excess fatty tissue causes your cells to become more resistant to insulin, and the more fat around the abdomen increases risk. A sedentary lifestyle can increase risk. Physical activity helps control weight, and uses up glucose as energy so hit that gym. Family history along with ethnicity can cause a predisposition for the disease. It is unclear why, but people of races including: black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian-American are at a higher risk for developing diabetes.
There are numerous treatment options for those diagnosed. Commonly those diagnosed with diabetes are prescribed Metformin, which works by improving the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin so it can be used effectively and lowering the liver’s production of glucose. While this medication can be helpful, it is important to make lifestyle changes to better treat diabetes. Weight loss and increasing physical activity are highly recommended to overweight and obese individuals who are suffering from diabetes. Additional weight training is good to incorporate. Muscle burns fat, which will help with fat loss goals. Along with exercise, diabetics need a diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. There is no specific diet for patients with diabetes, but avoiding sugary foods and refined carbohydrates is important.
Diabetes Mellitus: Type Two is a common disease, but should not be taken lightly. If it is not treated and monitored you can have serious complications including limb loss, diabetic coma and even death. The most effective way to treat type two diabetes is prevention. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and exercise is the key.