Islets of Hope for persons with type 2 diabetes
Article by Lahle Wolfe, Founder, Islets of Hope.
Diabetes Resource Links
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)- Treatments
Type 2 Diabetes - Oral Medications (American Diabetes Association)
Web Resources Related to Stress and Diabetes
Important Medical Disclaimer
Material and links on this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. The IOH strongly recommends you seek the advice of a competent medical professional for diagnosis and treatment options, or before making any changes to your diabetes care plan.
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Type 2 Diabetes - Section 2
Since heart disease is present in more than 75% of all diabetes-related deaths it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle when diagnosed. Your doctor may have you consult with a dietitian or nutritionist to help you prepare an exchange plan, or to learn how to count carbohydrate, fat and protein. Limiting refined carbohydrates is something everyone should strive for, especially those who are type 2 diabetic or insulin resistant. Refined carbs provide empty calories and require insulin production in order to eat them. The exception to pure sugar carbs is when fast sugars are required to correct low blood glucose levels.
An important part to keeping blood glucose levels in target range is how you eat. A healthy diet is still very important to combat the high risk of heart disease later on down the road and in controlling type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrates require insulin (either made by the body or injected) to metabolize them properly but so do high fat foods (or excessive amounts of protein). Fats in foods can keep blood glucose high for hours after eating them and should never be consumed when eating fast sugars to bring up low blood glucose levels because fat will slow down a quick rise in glucose levels.
Understanding how to eat for your particular form of diabetes can be confusing, but is the key to good blood glucose management. Type 2 diabetes need to watch the type of carbohydrates that they eat, limiting carbohydrates to low-glycemic, high-fiber, low-fat choices whenever possible. Type 2 diabetics may also need to take oral medications or insulin by injection or insulin pump therapy.
Exercise is a vital part of ensuring long-term health when living with all forms of diabetes and this is particularly true for type 2 diabetics. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, a problem with some type 2 diabetics and those with Metabolic Syndrome X, insulin resistance, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and increased insulin sensitivity means better glucose control, less weight gain, and may help slow down the progressive problems associated with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is stressful all by itself, but uncontrolled stress can lead to high blood glucose. When the body and emotions are put to the test hormones kick in to help. These hormones, in diabetics, will raise blood glucose levels and may do so both rapidly and significantly.
It is important to check blood glucose during stressful events, such as car accidents (even a minor fender bender), arguments, disappoints like losing a job, or before competitions and speaking engagements -- anything that makes you uneasy or overly excited. It is not uncommon for persons with diabetes to experience changes in blood glucose from "good" stress such as when reacting positively to a love interest. It is well documented that teens may only look at someone they have an interest in and experience a surge in blood glucose elevation by as much as several hundred points. (My own daughter, age 6, developed a young school girl crush on her male teacher's assistant. The first few weeks of school her blood sugar would jump to nearly 500 within minutes of talking with him.)
It is important to not let yourself get run down physically or emotionally. Take breaks for yourself and find activities and people that you enjoy. People relax in many different ways, deep breaths, counting to 10, meditation, hobbies, prayer, but one thing all people can benefit from is regular exercise. Physical activity reduces cortisol, a stress hormone remains in the system for hours after release. Exercise will help reduce toxic levels of stress hormones and aid in producing "good" hormones that help the body and mind to relax.
If you find your blood glucose is out of control (too high or too low) and you cannot isolate something in your eating and medical plans, look for areas of stress that you can reduce or find better ways to cope with. Illness also puts strain on the body's systems and can also elevate blood glucose. Whenever you are sick you should check your blood glucose more often so have a sick-day plan prepared for you by your doctor before you get sick.
Medical and Alternative Treatment
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body either does not produce enough insulin or doesn't efficiently use the insulin it does produce, a disorder known as insulin resistance. Most type 2 diabetes treatments work by either increasing insulin levels or decreasing glucose production. Insulin sensitizing drugs like Actos, Glucophage, and Avandia help reduce the body's resistance to insulin, which means that the body uses its own insulin more effectively.
For complete information on treatment and management of type 2 diabetes:
Page Updated 05/16/2006