top of page

Type 2 Diabetes Management


Let's dive into the world of type 2 diabetes as we shine the spotlight on National Diabetes Week. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body's ability to process glucose from the food we consume into the energy required for daily functioning. Unlike type 1 diabetes, where the body fails to produce insulin altogether, type 2 diabetes involves insulin resistance, where the body produces insufficient insulin or fails to use it effectively. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of type 2 diabetes, explore effective management strategies, and emphasise the importance of a healthy lifestyle in mitigating its impact.


While genetics and family history play a role in its development, lifestyle factors such as poor diet, sedentary behaviour, and obesity are significant contributors to the rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Australia and globally. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which typically manifests in childhood or adolescence, type 2 diabetes often occurs in adulthood, although it is increasingly diagnosed in younger individuals.



Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

Insulin Resistance and Its Consequences

In type 2 diabetes, the body's cells become resistant to insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance develops due to a combination of genetic factors and lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, sedentary behaviour, and obesity. When cells become resistant to insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream instead of being transported into cells to be used as energy. This leads to persistently high blood glucose levels, which can cause a range of health consequences.


Long-term uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can lead to various complications, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Elevated blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries. Additionally, the kidneys may be affected, leading to diabetic nephropathy, a condition that impairs their ability to filter waste products from the blood. Nerve damage, known as diabetic neuropathy, is also a common complication, resulting in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the extremities. Moreover, the eyes can be affected by diabetic retinopathy, a condition that damages the blood vessels in the retina and can potentially lead to vision loss. Understanding the consequences of insulin resistance emphasises the need for effective management strategies to prevent or minimise these complications.


Type 2 Diabetes Management


While type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management, the good news is that it can often be controlled through lifestyle modifications and, in some cases, medication. The cornerstone of managing type 2 diabetes lies in adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, weight management, quitting smoking, stress reduction, and adequate sleep.


Diet and Type 2 Diabetes

A healthy diet for individuals with type 2 diabetes focuses on consuming nutrient-dense foods that help regulate blood glucose levels. It is essential to choose foods with a low glycemic index (GI), as these are digested more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood glucose levels. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide essential nutrients while promoting satiety and preventing large fluctuations in blood sugar.


People with diabetes should avoid diets high in sugar and fat, reduce alcohol consumption, and quit smoking. Incorporating high-fibre foods, particularly those derived from whole grains like quinoa, instead of refined and processed grains, has proven beneficial in managing type 2 diabetes. Whenever possible, prepare meals at home to avoid processed foods and maintain control over ingredients. Portion control and carbohydrate counting can help individuals with type 2 diabetes manage their blood glucose levels effectively.



Healthy Food for Diabetes 2 prevention and management


Exercise and Weight Management

Regular physical activity is another critical component of managing type 2 diabetes. Exercise enhances insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to use insulin more efficiently and improve glucose uptake by cells. Engaging in aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling can help lower blood glucose levels, improve cardiovascular health, and aid in weight management. Resistance training, which involves working with weights or resistance bands, can increase muscle mass and further improve insulin sensitivity.


Engaging in as little as 30 minutes of physical activity per day or four hours per week can yield remarkable benefits for both the body and mind, particularly for individuals diagnosed with diabetes. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, enabling better glucose utilisation by the body.



Sunshine Coast Exercise Physiology for Diabetes Prevention


Weight management plays a pivotal role in managing type 2 diabetes. Losing excess weight, particularly abdominal fat, has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes. Working with an exercise physiologist or registered dietitian can provide guidance on setting realistic weight loss goals and developing an individualised plan that includes a healthy diet, exercise, and behaviour modification strategies.


Stress and Sleep

Stress management and adequate sleep are often overlooked aspects of diabetes management. Chronic stress can contribute to elevated blood glucose levels by triggering the release of stress hormones that interfere with insulin's actions. Finding stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies can help individuals with type 2 diabetes maintain better blood glucose control. Similarly, ensuring sufficient sleep is crucial, as inadequate sleep has been associated with insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism.


Progression of Type 2 Diabetes and Medication


As type 2 diabetes progresses, the body may become increasingly resistant to insulin, impairing its ability to convert glucose into energy. In such cases, even with a healthy diet and exercise, blood glucose levels may not reach optimal levels. Continous glucose monitoring, as pictured below, is helping people to monitor their glucose levels. In some cases, lifestyle modifications alone may not be sufficient to control blood glucose levels effectively. Medication may be prescribed to help manage blood sugar levels or insulin therapy may be needed if the pancreas no longer produces insulin adequately.



Continuous Glucose Monitoring


Commonly prescribed medications include oral hypoglycemic agents, such as metformin, which improve insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose production in the liver. Other medications may stimulate insulin production, inhibit glucose absorption in the intestines, or increase glucose excretion in the urine. In advanced cases or when blood glucose levels are not adequately controlled, insulin therapy may be necessary to supplement the body's insulin production.


It is important to note that medication is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Even when taking medication, individuals with type 2 diabetes should continue to prioritise healthy eating, regular exercise, and overall well-being. Combining medication with lifestyle modifications can result in improved blood glucose control, reduced medication requirements, and a decreased risk of complications associated with type 2 diabetes.


Conclusion

Managing type 2 diabetes requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses multiple lifestyle factors. By understanding the underlying mechanisms of insulin resistance, individuals can make informed decisions and implement strategies to effectively manage their condition. Adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and following prescribed medications when necessary are all vital components of managing type 2 diabetes successfully.


Working closely with healthcare professionals, including doctors, dietitians, and exercise physiologists, can provide the necessary guidance and support to achieve optimal blood glucose control and reduce the risk of long-term complications. With a proactive and holistic approach, individuals with type 2 diabetes can lead fulfilling lives while effectively managing their health. Remember, your choices matter, and embracing a holistic lifestyle can empower you to navigate the complexities of type 2 diabetes and promote long-term well-being.


Want To Learn More?

Make an appointment at Full Circle Wellness to develop a diabetes management plan, incorporating both exercise and diet. Don't wait! Call us on 5459 1599 and get the support you need.

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page