Few people really understand diabetes unless they have one of the two types or they are doctors. The misunderstanding of diabetes is partly why many people get diabetes and are surprised when they find out they have type 2 diabetes and that it is due to poor lifestyle. Many people know that type 1 diabetes is genetic but don’t realise that type 2 is different: they therefore don’t take care over what they eat and how they exercise that can cause type 2 diabetes. Other people think diabetes only affects older people or only fat people again though this isn’t true though obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, poor diet can lead to diabetes even if it doesn’t lead to obesity or even being overweight.
Type 1 diabetes is caused purely by a lack of insulin due to the pancreas not working and not releasing insulin as it should, this may be no insulin or little insulin and this is almost always a genetic condition though the pancreas can be damaged in other ways or have to be removed for example due to cancer.
Type 2 diabetes is much more serious and difficult to deal with. Many people believe that if they do get diabetes they can just inject themselves regularly with insulin and live normal lives, this is the case with type 1 diabetes but type 2 has a different cause and different treatment and problems.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to a great number of complications as it is very hard to manage the levels of glucose in the blood with type 2 diabetes as it isn’t as simple as injecting the insulin that a pancreas would normally secrete. Insulin is being released by the pancreas but the effect of insulin has normally been lessened or there may simply be excess cells that need insulin. The cells when they come into contact with enough insulin should take on glucose but they don’t. this means that glucose levels must be managed in other ways, though insulin injections are sometimes used they may have little effect. Type 2 diabetes sufferers must either boost glucose levels with eating sugars or drop them through exercise normally in order to avoid complications.
With the internet providing a platform for anyone to share information, it’s no surprise that myths and rumors pop up and spread quickly. Take the story about the $1 tip that generated thousands of angry rants and later turned out to be fake. Unfortunately, not all rumors and myths are de-bunked this quickly, and this goes for diseases including diabetes. Misinformation can be dangerous and harmful, especially when it relates to serious medical conditions.
My team has been working with the American Diabetes Association and the diabetic online community to help end these hurtful rumors. A lot of our visitors purchase diabetic socks and have the disease, so we reached out to them and heard some pretty ridiculous stories of myths and rumors related to diabetes. We had to do a bit of research on these ourselves, and were terrified when we saw certain people believing them to be true in the forums of reputable websites. We saw misinformation and myths about popular rumors, such as patients with diabetes can’t eat any sugar and that patients with diabetes are more likely to catch a cold.
What really stuck out to us is that there is misinformation about the different types of diabetes. While many believe that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same, they are completely different. Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as juvenile diabetes, but it can develop later in life. It is an autoimmune disease where the body is unable to produce the insulin hormone. Unfortunately, until a cure is found, patients with this form of diabetes will have to deal with it for their entire life. Type 2 diabetes, which is onset, is characterized by insulin resistance. Although genetics play a factor in whether one develops the disease, being overweight or obese has a large role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Weight and lifestyle does not factor into whether one develops type 1.
Although roughly 95% of patients with diabetes have type 2, those with type 1 are upset with this myth since people believe they developed it due to their lifestyle choices. How would you feel if someone told you that you brought the disease on yourself when you know that it is untrue (and in a way, can be untrue for those with type 2 as well)? Type 1 patients feel there is a stigma with diabetes, and they want to be excluded from it. For reasons like this, it’s important to raise awareness of the truth behind the disease. To help with this, my team has created this info graphic:
Bio: Adam stays busy fundraising for diabetes research and helping patients with diabetes find the right diabetic socks from Socks4life for their lifestyle. When he isn’t busy at work, he enjoys golfing, cooking, and traveling.
If you have diabetes and you have recently found out the changes to your lifestyle need to be swift to minimize any damage to your body including your organs and to allow you to lead a normal life as far as possible.
If you are overweight then you need to lose weight quickly and being fit and able to do exercise regularly is a vital part of living with diabetes. Your diet may well have caused diabetes and may need to change very fast too. Sugar should be removed from meals and sugary foods should be kept only for emergencies when your blood sugar is low which will often be the case after exercise but apart from then shouldn’t happen as long as you plan your meals carefully. When you eat is as important as what you eat, you can’t afford to work late at the office and leave eating until later, nor can you just snack on junk food to keep you going. You need a good regime with regular meal times with complex carbohydrates that will slowly release energy at the rate that your body needs it. Your next meal should then be when your previous meal is just finishing burning off: not before and not after.
Living with type 2 diabetes is difficult to get used to for others as well as yourself, you may have people who don’t understand diabetes and don’t take it seriously. If someone thinks you are being awkward by demanding to eat at a certain time then it can be a difficult situation and they may assume the consequences for you are the same as for anyone when they get hungry but just a little more severe or that they occur a little quicker. It pays to tell as many people as possible then and explain it to them, there is no reason to be embarrassed and having close friends and family including friends at work and in other settings means there are people around you to help you out and back you up.
Diabetes is caused by your pancreas being unable to produce the insulin your body needs. Insulin regulates the glucose in your body and so is important to make sure you don’t get too little or too much: both of which are serious but regularly having your glucose levels too high is very bad for you. If you have diabetes then you have to regulate your glucose levels for yourself and inject yourself with insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is simply the pancreas not working and creating no insulin or too little insulin, this is generally a genetic condition. With type 2 diabetes it is mainly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle including diet but can be due to other problems such as hypertension. With type 2 diabetes to begin with your pancreas creates a normal amount of insulin but something happens to mean that it is not effective at causing cells to take on more glucose. When this happens more glucose may be required to make cells take on glucose: this is often where there are excess cells or cells no longer react as they should to insulin. Eventually the pancreas is unable to keep up and cannot manage glucose levels effectively or sometimes at all.
The complications of diabetes are very serious though sadly people don’t take diabetes seriously until they develop it and find out what risks there are too then. Excess glucose in the blood can cause blindness and heart disease as well as other conditions. Heart disease or heart attack kills many diabetes sufferers and this in itself needs to be managed. It is blood pressure that can damage the heart and also can dmage the kidneys and so medication for blood pressure is taken. Glucose levels in the blood need to be managed by either eating foods such as glucose tablets to give energy or by doing exercise to burn off glucose in the bloodstream.
If you don’t have type 2 diabetes you should consider your lifestyle to make it as unlikely as possible. Diabetes is a prevalent condition in western society and type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyle. There are many conditions caused by obesity and type 2 diabetes is one of them but it is also a condition that can be caused by simply being overweight. Another thing to remember about diabetes is you don’t need to be overweight for long to cause diabetes, type 2 diabetes is more and more common in children. Don’t think therefore that as long as you get around to losing some weight and eating more healthily before you hit middle age you will be fine. As soon as your weight gets to the point where your BMI is into the ‘overweight’ section you need to think about doing something about your weight and lifestyle fast. Diet is absolutely key though exercise does of course help to burn off excess fat and to quicken your metabolism. A ballooning weight though is no good and a healthy lifestyle is what you need. The foods you eat should be low in fat of course but carbohydrates can be more of a problem. Sugar is linked with diabetes for good reason, the way your body processes simple carbohydrates like sugar is to either use the energy straight away or too store it. Complex carbohydrates release energy slowly so you are likely to keep burning the energy as it becomes available even if you are doing normal day to day activities like watching TV or sitting at a desk at work. It is excess energy and excess glucose that leads to fat being formed. Slow releasing carbohydrates include brown rice and wholegrain pasta, wholegrain bread as well is better than white bread. The likes of white bread, pasta and other carbohydrates derived from grain are still much better than sugars though. Too much sugar is closely related to diabetes, you can eat sugar but only if you are then going to instantly use that energy by doing exercise and physical activity. If you want treats then make sure you have them before or straight after exercise.
If you have type 2 diabetes then exercise to control hyperglycemia is essential. If you have pre diabetes as well exercise is vital in order to cut weight and burn calories to minimize the risk of diabetes.
For those recently diagnosed with diabetes exercise may be a problem if you are not in the habit of exercising, which may well have been the cause of diabetes in the first place. A healthy weight though will still help you deal with your diabetes but you will need to be able to burn off excess glucose in the blood stream or your body could be damaged and complications including heart disease could be the result. One good exercise to do if you suddenly realize your blood glucose levels are high is running up and own stairs. Stairs are a piece of exercise equipment you can often easily find and which you don’t have to get changed to use. Running up and down stairs also shouldn’t draw to much attention to you. What is better than suddenly needing to do exercise when you may be in the worst possible situation such as on a bus or a train, is to plan your meals and plan exercise around them so you can burn off glucose at times where it is likely to be a problem. Exercise this way will become part of your lifestyle and the more you do the healthier you will be overall and the less affect on your life diabetes will have. If diabetes does start to get the better of you then it can be a vicious circle where exercise becomes difficult and the effect diabetes has on your life and your health mean exercising is often the last thing you feel like doing. To get started with exercise though or to get back into it swimming and walking are good types of exercise to try, especially swimming if you suffer from other health problems such as joint problems as it is low impact unlike running for example.
You may think that if children are a little overweight or don’t eat very healthily this doesn’t matter as long as they hade a good diet and lose the weight by adulthood. Many people though develop type 2 diabetes in childhood due to a poor diet and it is only the parents who can really be blamed. Parents need to understand what causes diabetes and how their child’s diet and lifestyle could affect them. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is linked directly to the amount of fat you have in your body and the type of food you eat. It is incurable as well, there is no option to slim down to get rid of diabetes once it has developed it is too late and it is a condition that though it can be managed is still dangerous and will eventually kill most sufferers through complications such as heart disease.
Your child should not be overweight of course, a steady weight is important as well, a weight that goes up and down is not good for you and can help cause type 2 diabetes. Being slightly overweight will affect a child’s chances of developing diabetes a significant amount but being obese or morbidly obese will make diabetes highly likely. It isn’t just how much fat a child eats though it is the carbohydrates they eat. Carbohydrates should wherever possible be complex carbohydrates: these release energy slowly and do not put a strain on the pancreas to produce insulin in the way that simple carbohydrates including sugar and many processed foods do. Exercise is important but more to control weight. It is still harmful to eat too much sugar if it isn’t then burnt off straight away. If you do want to give your children sweets such as sugar therefore let them have these straight after or even before exercise and not before bed or while they are sat watching films or playing computer games.
There is no way to guarantee you won’t get diabetes but overall it is up to you to make type 2 diabetes very unlikely to develop in your or in your children. In the same way lifestyle choices you make could make type 2 diabetes very likely but even the worst lifestyle doesn’t make it certain.
Pre diabetes is a phase where you can still avid developing full diabetes which itself cannot simply be cured, it is much better though to never get to this stage. Often there are no warning signs of pre-diabetes and so by the time you realize you have diabetes it is too late to do anything.
The amount of excess fat you have on your body is an important indicator of the chances of getting diabetes, you only have to be overweight by a small amount to increase your chances of diabetes significantly. If you are morbidly obese then you need to take action quickly. You may want to look at your BMI and aim for your perfect weight or close to it but do be careful as your body type and the amount of muscle you have may make your BMI incorrect. You could use another measure such as those that take muscle mass into account or those based on displacement but you should know if you are overweight or not: can you pinch an inch of stomach fat: this is a check you may want to regularly do. How much fat you eat and how many calories you eat will affect weight but you should exercise as well. Even gentle exercise can increase your metabolism and make it hard for you to put on weight. Fat isn’t everything though you should have a healthy diet containing plenty of fiber and complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain pasta and rice.
There is no simple yes or no answer to the question ‘is type 2 Diabetes genetic?’ if you were to try and give a simple answer it would have to be no it doesn’t appear to be but this doesn’t explain the relationship between genetics and diabetes. Diabetics is made more likely by factors that are linked to genetics. Type 2 diabetes is down primarily to lifestyle factors, how those lifestyle factors affect you may be linked to genetics. You are more likely to get diabetes if your parents have diabetes but it is however very difficult to separate nature and nurture and bad habits that run in families may mean several generations end up with diabetes but this could be the case still even with adopted children. Some genetic factors do mean that overeating is more likely to see you put on weight, with almost all conditions though excessive fat can be avoided by being careful with what you eat and how much exercise you do, simply some people will need to be more careful and do more exercise than others. If you either have diabetes and want to avoid your children from getting it or if your parents have diabetes and you don’t want diabetes diet is important. Eating sensible amounts of fats and plenty of fiber and complex carbohydrates will in most cases stop people developing type 2 diabetes, exercise as well will burn calories and boost the metabolism. A slow metabolism could well be genetic and could well contribute towards diabetes. No one is guaranteed to be safe from diabetes even with the best diet and exercise and no-one is certain to get diabetes either but to a large extent how you live your life will decide whether you get diabetes or not. Type 1 and gestational diabetes differ from type 2 and are linked to genetics.
Type 2 diabetes is a very serious condition that affects your well-being and quality of life and can lead to complications. Managing blood glucose levels can make you live a fairly normal life and more importantly a life that isn’t sullied by the pain of related conditions. Measurement of Glucose levels in the blood is key, you will need to use a monitor regularly and keep copious records. Every time your blood sugar level gets too high you can be damaging your body so the best bet is to avoid this at all costs. As well as measuring your glucose levels regularly you should look out for signs of high or low blood glucose levels. For low blood glucose levels this is dizziness, sweating, headaches and hunger. For high blood sugar level thirst that cannot be quenched and excessive urination are the signs to look for.
With Hypoglycemia, which is low glucose levels you need to use some form of sugar. Glucose tablets are the best form of sugar as it can instantly enter your blood stream. You could also use fruit juice, honey or raisins but glucose tablets are easy to keep with you as well. Of course to avoid hypoglycemia in the first place a slow releasing meal is best that will continue to release energy that the body can change into glucose for several hours. Hyperglycemia is high blood pressure and should be dealt with as quickly as possible, you can cut glucose levels through exercise and so should do exercise as soon as you can, this may mean running up and down some stairs at work or at the mall, the advantage being that you can do this without people wandering what it is you are doing, jogging on the spot in the middle of the supermarket may raise some eyebrows but is something you may need to do sometimes, spotting early signs though mean less drastic action is needed , you my be able to tense and relax muscles in order to use up a bit of extra glucose.