Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to compensate, but over time, it may not be able to keep up, leading to high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting approximately 24 million people in Africa. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and management of type 2 diabetes.
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease that is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:
- Age: Type 2 diabetes is more common in people over the age of 45, but can occur at any age.
- Family history: If a close family member has type 2 diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, as excess body fat can lead to insulin resistance.
- Physical inactivity: Lack of physical activity can also contribute to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Race and ethnicity: Type 2 diabetes is more common in Indian and mixed race people living in South Africa.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be mild or absent in the early stages, making it difficult to detect. Some of the common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and urination.
- Blurred vision.
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises.
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.
- Recurrent infections, such as yeast infections.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as nerve damage, kidney damage, and cardiovascular disease.
Managing type 2 diabetes can be challenging, as it requires ongoing attention and lifestyle changes.
Some of the challenges of managing type 2 diabetes include:
1. Adhering to a healthy diet: Following a healthy diet that is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates can be challenging, as it may require significant changes to eating habits and food choices.
2. Engaging in regular physical activity: Regular physical activity is important for managing type 2 diabetes, but it can be difficult to find time for exercise and maintain a consistent routine.
3. Monitoring blood sugar levels: Monitoring blood sugar levels regularly can be time-consuming and may require frequent finger pricks or the use of a continuous glucose monitoring device.
4. Taking medication as prescribed: Taking medication as prescribed can be challenging, as it may require multiple medications and a strict dosing schedule.
5. Managing stress: Stress can affect blood sugar levels and make it more difficult to manage type 2 diabetes.
6. Coping with complications: People with type 2 diabetes may experience complications such as nerve damage, kidney disease, and eye damage, which can further complicate diabetes management.
7. Social and cultural factors: Social and cultural factors, such as family and community support, access to healthy food options, and cultural beliefs about food and health, can also affect diabetes management.
While managing type 2 diabetes can be challenging, it is important to remember that proper education, support, and self-care can help people with diabetes overcome these challenges and successfully manage their condition to improve their overall health and well-being.
At 4Life Living we have over 22 years of experience in the management of patients living with type 2 diabetes. We have seen the benefits of a carb-controlled diet in our patients to control blood glucose levels and even to put their diabetes in remission.
A carb-controlled diet is a dietary pattern that restricts carbohydrate intake in order to manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This eating pattern has been shown to be effective in improving blood sugar control and reducing the risk of complications associated with type 2 diabetes. Here are some key principles of a carb-controlled diet for type 2 diabetes:
- Limit carbohydrate intake: A carb-controlled diet typically restricts carbohydrate intake to less than 130 grams per day, although some people may need to consume even fewer carbohydrates to achieve optimal results.
- Choose complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, and legumes are low in sugar and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They should be included in a carb-controlled diet.
- Monitor blood sugar levels: People with type 2 diabetes may need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly to ensure that they are staying within a healthy range.
- Include lean protein sources: Lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, and beans can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote satiety. We also know that limiting your carbohydrate intake, it does allow for more fat in your diet. Our motto: Remove visible fat, but not all!
- Limit or avoid sugary foods and drinks: Sugary foods and drinks can cause blood sugar levels to spike and should be limited or avoided in a carb-controlled diet.
- Work with a healthcare professional: People with type 2 diabetes may benefit from working with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian to develop a personalized carb-controlled diet plan.
It is not a one-size fits all approach when managing type 2 diabetes. It is best to work with a dietitian so that they can work with you in personalising your goals and compile an individualised meal plan for you.