Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is the result of the body not being able to produce enough insulin – a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Insulin has many important roles but chief among them is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of energy supplied to the cells through eating food. Stripped of insulin, high blood sugar levels flood the body, which can cause serious complications.
Other bodily dysfunctions can arise from poor insulin production, and the ensuing damage they cause can cause a number of acute symptoms.
For example, without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel.
“This process produces a build-up of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.
According to the Mayo Clinic, fruity-scented breath is a warning sign of ketoacidosis.
Other warning signs include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Weakness or fatigue
- Shortness of breath
How to respond
The NHS explains: “Go to your nearest A&E immediately if you think you have DKA, especially if you have a high level of ketones in your blood or urine.”
As the health body points out, DKA is an emergency and needs to be treated in hospital immediately.
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How to manage type 2 diabetes
Bringing blood sugar levels under control is essential to managing type 2 diabetes and warding off the threat of further complications.
There are two key components to blood sugar control – diet and exercise.
In regards to the former, there is technically nothing you cannot eat but you have to limit certain foods.
The ones to watch are carbohydrates because they are broken down into blood sugar relatively fast and therefore have a marked impact on blood sugar levels.
Not all carbs present the same risk, however. The worst culprits are those that rank high on the glycaemic index (GI).
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.
It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbs that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
Instead, you should stick to low or medium GI foods, which are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
They include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
It’s worth noting that if you only eat foods with a low GI, your diet may be unbalanced and high in fat, adds the NHS.
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