If you’re not currently trying to manage type 2 diabetes, chances are, you know someone who is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes.
Another 88 million American adults ― 1 in 3 ― are borderline diabetic, a huge portion of the population. But just what is type 2 diabetes and what causes it? Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition affecting the way your body metabolizes glucose (sugar) for use as energy.
People managing type 2 diabetes either have trouble producing enough insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, or don’t utilize it well enough to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It’s insulin that acts as a gatekeeper controlling the amount of glucose in your bloodstream for use as energy. Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage and more.
The positive news is that you can do something right now to either prevent or lessen the severity of symptoms of type 2 diabetes by taking a few simple steps.
Make Positive Lifestyle Changes Today
If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression to diabetes. Taking preventative steps toward warding off type 2 diabetes include:
Eating healthier foods helps. Try choosing foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. And whenever possible, ditch the processed, fast foods.
Break a sweat. Aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity — or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity as often as you can. Brisk daily walks, bike rides or swimming a few laps all fit the bill. If you are too busy for long workouts, try shorter ones spread throughout the day.
Drop a few pounds. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. Try focusing on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem. For example, a person weighing 180 pounds needs to lose just under 13 pounds to make a positive impact on blood glucose levels.
|CURRENT WEIGHT||NUMBER OF CALORIES PER DAY|
|120 to 174 pounds||1,200|
|175 to 219 pounds||1,500|
|220 to 249 pounds||1,800|
|250pounds or more||2, 000|
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Get up and move. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.
Frequent movement many even have some non-weight related benefits, such as enhancing your mood, reducing stress and helping maintain healthier bones.
Monitor Your Blood Sugar-Often
If you’re managing diabetes, it’s vitally important that you monitor your blood sugar levels frequently. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t feel symptoms until the onset of hyperglycemia ― too much glucose in the bloodstream ―which can lead to serious complications:
- Cardiac events, such as heart attack or stroke
- Kidney problems
- Loss of vision
- Circulation problems and scarring
Maintaining safe blood sugar levels is a matter of frequent monitoring. One way to do that is to use a reliable blood glucose meter. They are especially handy for blood testing before and after meals. Advocate makes the Redi-Code + Speaking Blood Glucose Meter. It can provide accurate, audible blood glucose results in as little as 5 seconds, and in both English and Spanish.
Have a Hypoglycemia Plan When Not at Home
Another complication of type 2 diabetes is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. It’s sometimes referred to as an insulin reaction, or insulin shock. It happens when your blood sugar levels fall low enough that immediate attention is required to bring your levels back to a normal range, which is usually less than 140 mg/dL. However, talk to your medical professional about blood sugar targets that are right for you.
Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Symptoms can come on quickly and can vary widely in severity. According to the American Diabetes Association, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- Feeling shaky
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Sweating, chills and clamminess
- Irritability or impatience
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Color draining from the skin (pallor)
- Feeling tired
- Feeling listless
- Blurred or impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
- Coordination problems, clumsiness
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.
If you are away from home, you’ll need a quick, effective way to bring blood sugar levels up to normal before glucose deficiencies lead to more serious medical complications. Advocate’s Glucose SOS Rapid Glucose Recovery powder is a fast-absorbing glucose power you can add to your favorite drink and prevent sugar spikes.
Natural Supplements to Keep Diabetes Type 2 in Check
Type 2 diabetes is typically controlled with diet, exercise, prescribed medications, insulin ― or a combination of one or more approaches. However, people are finding benefits from natural supplements and hemp-extracted CBD oil to mitigate some of the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.
Oliver’s Harvest Blood Sugar Support capsules contain three active ingredients: Cinnamon powder, alpha-lipoic acid and cannabidiol (CBD) that may help you to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and prevent some complications.
Cinnamon is known for its strong anti-oxidative properties, which may help improve insulin sensitivity, and lower elevated blood sugar levels. Alpha-lipoic acid is also an antioxidant, which may help with glucose uptake in muscles and enhance insulin sensitivity.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as reducing oxidative stress and preventing neurodegeneration. Up to 50 percent of diabetics suffer from nerve damage (neuropathy), mostly in the legs and feet.
Oliver’s Harvest Pain Cream with CBD & Capsaicin is a natural topical muscle and joint relief cream that may provide relief from neuropathic pain. Capsaicin is an active component of chili peppers known to “bring the heat” in some spicy foods, but it’s also been studied to help reduce pain. In addition, capsaicin is also known as a neuroprotectant and may help protect nerves from further damage or degeneration.
CBD oil works with your body’s natural endocannabinoid receptors to help regulate inflammatory responses and relieve mild pain and soreness. CBD also has the added benefit of helping to reduce anxiety and promoting better sleep without the harmful side effects known to come with some prescribed medications.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition requiring a multifaceted approach to mitigating its many complications. Although it’s on the rise in the U.S. among certain age groups and demographic cohorts, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making certain lifestyle changes as part of your long-term, daily routine.
Many people seek benefits provided by natural supplements to help lower blood sugar resulting from diabetes. Still, supplements may be used alongside traditional diabetes medications, but may not be able to replace them altogether.
Whenever choosing natural alternatives to help manage your type 2 diabetes, always check with your physician before starting a new dietary supplement program.