What is Type 2 Diabetes?

what is diabetes

You’ve just been told you have Type 2 Diabetes.  The doctor or nurse was kind in how they told you, we hope, but you may be wondering what the heck Type 2 Diabetes is? You might have stopped listening to the doctor just after he said you have Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes – Nuts and Bolts

Diabetes is a disease that happens when you become resistant to insulin, or your insulin is impaired from operating as it should for some reason.  What does insulin do?  Insulin helps sugar move from your blood stream into your cells, and if it’s not working right, a problem exists – too much glucose (aka sugar) in your blood.  And, now you have Diabetes.

So, how does insulin work and where does it come from?

Type 2 Diabetes and The HBA1C Test

How did the doctor discover you have Diabetes? Well, you probably went in for some tests that involved a bit of blood being drawn.  One of the tests is called the HBA1C (or, A1C) test.  This measures how much glucose (sugar) has been in your blood for the last 60 to 90 days.  Unlike most tests, a low score is what you want to see as a result.

A1CChart

A result of 6.5 and higher means you have Diabetes.  5.7 to 6.4 gives you a Prediabetes result, which is a warning to you that if you don’t do something, Type 2 Diabetes is most likely in your future.

Get used to having the HBA1C test. Chances are you will have one every six months or once a year – at least.  These are the gold standard for how you are controlling your Diabetes.  7.0 or under means you have it under tight control and will probably not have any complications, or if you do they will be fewer and less severe.  The Mayo Clinic has a great explanation of the test and results.

That chart is a bit intimidating for some. You might find this one a bit easier:

Simple A1C Chart

Simple A1C Chart

Type 2 Diabetes – Changes Are Coming

Chances are you are going to need to make a few changes to your life if you are going to successfully control your Diabetes. Did you see the good news just then?  You CAN control the disease.  How? Diet, Exercise and Meds. We will go into more detail later, but for now a lower carb diet, moderate exercise (walking 30 minutes a day is just fine), and taking your meds as prescribed will go a long way to controlling Diabetes.

The Diet and Meds are kind of obvious, right?  But, how does the exercise help?

Type 2 Diabetes – How Bad Can It Be?

Now, you know.  If your insulin isn’t working correctly, you have too much sugar in your blood.  What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that if your blood has too much sugar in it, there are a lot of potential problems; the complications that come from uncontrolled Diabetes.  Complications?  Yes, such as nerve damage, impaired eye sight, kidney damage (25% of those on dialysis have Diabetes), heart disease, and more.

diabetes-complications

In order not to have the complications, Diabetes needs to be controlled.  The good news is that you can do it. Through Diet, Exercise and Medication Type 2 Diabetes can be beat.  Eat a healthy diet.  Exercise, or be active, for 30 minutes a day five days a week. Walking is a great way to get this done; there is no need to join a gym unless you just want to.  And, take your Medications as prescribed.  Please, don’t mess with this one.  Take your meds.

Diet.  Exercise. Meds.  Those are your three weapons to fight your War On Diabetes.  It’s a war you must win.  You can control Diabetes!

 

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