Type 2 Diabetes: What You Need to Know IMAGE

Type 2 Diabetes: What You Need to Know About Staying Healthy

Written by JJ Smith, certified weight management specialist (NESTA) and nutritionist (ANA)

Posted November 17th, 2021 under Health and Wellness

Learn the facts on Type 2 Diabetes and how to reverse Type 2 Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month. The importance of this month rings home for me when I read the statistics on the number of Americans living with type 2 and type 1 diabetes.

According to the CDC, over 34 million Americans have diabetes – this is about 1 in 10 people! And of these 34 million, 90 – 95% of people have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be a disease that affected older adults, but now because of our modern-day lifestyles, children, teens, and young adults are developing this very serious disease.

In light of these facts, it only makes sense to do all I can to share with you what I know about your health, your liver, blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes.

Here is what the American Diabetes Association says about the importance of American Diabetes Month:

Every year, our community comes together to ring the alarm on the diabetes epidemic. For the millions of us who are at risk for it, it’s a time to get educated, find resources and make sure all those around us are aware of their risk, too. And for the millions of us living with diabetes, it’s a chance to tell our stories and awaken the world.

Powerful and important words that I’m using as the inspiration for this blog about type 2 diabetes, your liver health, and how to reverse type 2 diabetes.

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What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot make enough insulin (a hormone that helps control the amount of glucose or sugar in your blood) or does not properly use the insulin it makes. Type 2 diabetes is caused by several different risk factors and affects 90% of diabetes cases in Canada.

I like this definition of type 2 diabetes from Diabetes Canada because it explains in simple language how important it is to keep your body working properly and the implications to your health when your body cannot make or manage insulin.

To expand on this definition and drill home the nature of this disease, let’s talk about your pancreas and sugar. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas does not make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it has. This is known as insulin resistance and makes it difficult for your body to metabolize and use blood sugar for energy.

This breakdown ultimately results in high blood sugar and triggers trickle-down health impacts, including type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, erratic energy levels, weight gain, and hyperglycemia.

Because it’s American Diabetes Month, I want to highlight the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is information you need to know if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.

Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

  • This is an autoimmune disease. Your body attacks your pancreas, and it cannot make the insulin you need.
  • There is no known cause for type 1 diabetes.
  • People with type 1 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar and take insulin to keep their blood sugar in the healthy range.
  • There is no known cure for type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Your body cannot make enough insulin or use the insulin it does make properly.
  • It is not 100% clear what causes insulin resistance and why the pancreas is unable to manage or make insulin properly. But researchers believe lifestyle factors such as weight, lack of exercise, and diet are contributing factors to type 2 diabetes.
  • Many people overlook the symptoms of type 2 diabetes because they accumulate slowly.
  • People with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by making lifestyle changes and taking medication.
  • While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, you can reverse type 2 diabetes and put it into remission.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

This scientific explanation of how the liver and pancreas work together, helps explain what causes type 2 diabetes:

When fat cannot be safely stored under the skin, it is then stored inside the liver and overspills to the rest of the body, including the pancreas. This ‘clogs up’ the pancreas, switching off the genes that direct how insulin should effectively be produced, and this causes type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) was a 2-year long trial that measured the impacts of weight loss and lifestyle changes on type 2 diabetes reversal. The results of this study showed that 9 out of 10 people who lost 15 kilograms or more, reversed their type 2 diabetes.

I highlight this study because the hypothesis it tested is linked to a theory about what causes type 2 diabetes. MedicalNewsToday explains the study in plain language that makes it easy to understand the connection between liver health, fat in the liver, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes:

The theory proposed that type 2 diabetes results from the accumulation of fat in the liver, which induces insulin resistance and increases blood sugar production.

These effects, in turn increase plasma insulin levels, precipitating “a self-reinforcing cycle” in which insulin stimulates fat production.

These increased levels of liver fat cause the lipids to overspill into several tissues, including the pancreas.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

It is very easy to miss the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Please make sure you’re aware of these type 2 diabetes symptoms:

  • Extremely thirsty
  • Frequent peeing (especially at night)
  • No energy or extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Recurring or frequent infections
  • Slow healing cuts and bruises
  • Numbness, pain, or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Increased hunger

Please do not ignore these symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms of type 2 diabetes (and type 1 diabetes) please contact your healthcare practitioner. These symptoms are signals from your body that it needs help and support.

Learn more about the symptoms of type 2 diabetes from Diabetes UK. Note: these symptoms impact both adults and children.

How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, I want you to know you can take steps to improve your health.

Instead of being stressed about this diagnosis – use this information as the motivation you need to make healthy changes to your lifestyle.

To potentially reverse type 2 diabetes and improve your overall health, try to put these healthy living tips into practice:

  • Change your diet. Yes, you are what you eat, and research tells us the foods we consume really do matter. Try to incorporate these healthy diet tips into your day-to-day:
    1. Cut down on the amount of fast-acting carbohydrates you eat. Fast-acting carbohydrates are foods that spike blood sugar. Foods like white bread, soda, candy, baked goods, and white rice and pasta are examples of fast-acting carbohydrates. Instead, switch to slow-acting carbohydrates including whole wheat bread, brown rice, large flake oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, lentils, couscous, and butternut squash. These foods give you a steady energy release through-out the day and help promote stable blood sugar levels.
    2. Get your fiber. Fiber is essential to good digestion, slowing blood sugar absorption, and easy pooping. Most people do not get enough fiber in their diets because they’re not eating enough vegetables, fruits, and slow-acting carbohydrates. As an extra bonus, a high-fiber diet makes you feel full, preventing you from overeating. Try to add high fiber foods like apples, pears, green leafy vegetables, lentils, beans, broccoli, and berries to your diet.
    3. Eat your fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and slow-acting carbohydrates are keys to a balanced diet. Look for unprocessed foods and try to eat more liver superfoods – choose the apple instead of the apple juice or try to add more homemade soups and stews to your meal plan
  • Move your body. Here is what the American Diabetes Association says about exercise and type 2 diabetes or prediabetes:

Along with your diet and medications, regular physical activity is an important part of managing diabetes or dealing with prediabetes. Because when you’re active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin, so it works more effectively. And you just feel better. And look better.

I know it’s not easy to start exercising. My number one tip for getting more exercise is to choose something fun and do it with friends. For example, meet up with your friends for an evening walk around the neighborhood, join a yoga class, get together for a weekend spin class, or hit the gym to lift weights.

  • Manage your stress levels. Elevated stress levels can contribute to high blood pressure levels and increase your risk of developing heart disease if you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.To help lower your stress levels, try to take breaks from work during the day and do not agree to every invitation or request. You can say “
  • Stop smoking. If you smoke – stop. It’s this simple. There is nothing good about smoking. If you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, the effects of smoking can be much worse. For diabetics and prediabetics, smoking puts you at increased risk of nerve damage, permanent vision problems, kidney disease, and heart conditions.
  • Take a supplement proven to promote healthy blood sugar levels. With type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. Blood Sugar Focus helps to naturally reduce glucose absorption and production. This proprietary blend of herbs and minerals supports healthy blood sugar levels, helping you to lose weight, maintain consistent energy levels, and provides specific support for prediabetes and diabetes.

Please consult your healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet, exercise routine, and lifestyle habits if you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Any changes you make may interact with your medication.

To learn more about type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and how to reverse diabetes, refer to these online resources:

I want you to know what I know about type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and the connection to your liver health and blood sugar levels!

I hope this blog is helpful and you have some great strategies for reversing type 2 diabetes. Please share it with anyone you know who has type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or wants to learn healthy living tips for improved health and wellness.

Remember to browse my blog for more articles about high blood sugar, liver health, and your health and wellness.