Diabetes is not ‘curable’… people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin and require lifelong treatment via insulin injections. People with Type 2 diabetes can often control their condition through diet and exercise or even medication, but cannot ‘cure’ themselves.
However, if you have pre-diabetes or are overweight, you can often forestall the onset of Type 2 diabetes. This period will not last for very long and the longer you wait the more difficult it will become for you to regain your health. If you have already gone onto full-blown Type 2 diabetes, you can still take steps to reduce your symptoms and the development of serious complications.
It helps to see Type 2 diabetes as a continuum. In the early stage, your blood sugar level may rise just a little after eating a lot of carbs and you may feel a little drowsy. At this time you don’t have what is called a disease and it’s possible your blood sugar levels when tested, would be normal. Ignoring the clues your body is giving you and continuing to eat the same foods, the same carbs, means your sugar intolerance will get worse. Your blood sugar levels will increase and then you will receive at least a diagnosis of pre-diabetes.
While there is a sub-set of Type 2 diabetics known as ‘lean diabetics’, the overwhelming majority of pre-diabetics and Type 2 diabetics are overweight, with a large percentage of those being clinically obese. (Note: A person can be clinically obese without appearing to be significantly overweight… obesity for this purpose is generally measured by BMI, which means a 5 foot 6 inch female who weighs 186 pounds but still fits in a size 12, could be considered obese).
Controlling weight through healthy diet and exercise is the number one way to help prevent a pre-diabetic condition from progressing to full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Research done in the field also shows that an abundance of particular types of fat cells can decrease glucose tolerance and increase insulin resistance. Eliminating fat and building lean muscle to replace it can help reduce insulin resistance.
Anyone with a more sedentary lifestyle and one or more other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are also increasing their risk. Having an inactive lifestyle can encourage obesity and fat cell production, leading to glucose intolerance. Anyone with desk jobs and a long commute have to be particularly attentive to getting enough exercise. (This will also help with weight issues).
High Cholesterol Levels and High Blood Pressure:
High cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes often present together. Although high cholesterol does not ’cause’ diabetes, controlling cholesterol levels can help pre-diabetics decrease their risk. The same holds true for high blood pressure. Smoking is another factor… some studies indicate that smokers are as much as 44% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as non-smokers. There are many different combinations of factors, all of which can put you at risk.
While the genetic link between diabetes and hereditary pre-disposition has yet to be fully explored, anyone with Type 2 diabetic parents or siblings should be aware that this is also considered a ‘risk’ factor and act pro-actively to avoid other possible factors that compound the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.