A Guide For Type 2 Diabetes

By: Audrey Cannon

Introduction to Type 2 Diabetes

Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes can be scary at first, but by learning about how Type 2 Diabetes affects your body and how to control it, having to manage your diabetes will just become a part of your regular lifestyle and daily routine! Many changes will have to occur in your lifestyle in order to incorporate the demands of having Type 2 Diabetes. Now you must lead an active lifestyle, eat healthier, and regularly monitor your blood sugar levels, in order to properly manage your diabetes. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes (which you are born with), Type 2 diabetes is normally as a result of improper nutrition and exercise at a later time in life, so by following a proper nutrition and exercise plan while leading an active lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes can be managed or even reversed! By sticking to the following guidelines each and every day, you can beat diabetes!

Diabetes and Its Effect on the Human Body


In a patient without diabetes, their body is able to process sugar (glucose) correctly. A human’s cells need energy so in order to create ATP, the type of energy our body is fueled with, the cells need to obtain glucose in order to make ATP. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, acts as the key in this situation. The insulin “unlocks” the cell by fitting perfectly in an insulin receptor on the outermost layer of the cell called the cell membrane. The insulin, once it fits perfectly into the insulin receptor, opens the glucose “door”, or glucose transport proteins, so that the glucose (sugar) may enter the cell and be used to create energy. However, someone like you who has type 2 diabetes, is not able to process sugar (glucose) correctly. In a patient with Type 1 Diabetes their pancreas doesn't secrete any insulin whatsoever, but in a patient with Type 2 diabetes, their pancreas secretes insulin that is unrecognizable to the cell, or does not fit the cell’s insulin receptor. Due to the insulin’s inability to fit the insulin cell receptor, the glucose cannot enter the cell which leads to a buildup of glucose in the blood.

Exercise Plan for Type 2 Diabetes

Exercising plays an active role in managing diabetes because it is one of the only ways to lower your blood sugar level. Some of you may be thinking that exercising is too hard or time consuming, but in fact exercising can be enjoyable and fun! The following exercise routines can be fun and help you to reach the recommended workout time of at least 30-45 minutes each day.


-Aerobics/Water Aerobics


-Jogging or Walking


-Light-Weight Lifting


Also, if you are a person who loves to socialize or someone who needs a friend to keep them company, I recommend finding an exercise partner and doing whatever makes you comfortable while still making sure that you are strictly following the exercise and nutrition plan! According to Beachbody Fitness Coach Velani Cannon, several at-home exercise programs distributed by the company Beachbody serve as fun ways to exercise.


-Cize: Cize is a Beachbody exercise program where success can be achieved solely through dancing! Each workout video, led by the famous fitness trainer/motivator Sean T., contains step-by-step choreography to some of your favorite songs! So focused on mastering your favorite moves, you won't even realize it's a workout!


-PiYo: PiYo, short for pilates yoga, is an Beachbody exercise program led by Chalene Johnson. PiYo consists of exercises that contain the stretching and inner strength associated with yoga and pilates, but defines your body without having to endure through a high intensity workout.


By staying fit and active, your diabetes can be controlled due to


  • Lower blood glucose levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better cholesterol levels
  • An improved ability to use insulin
  • Decreased risk of stroke
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Stronger bones
  • Less chance of falling
  • Easier weight loss
  • Less body fat
  • and More energy


Who wouldn't want these results?! Find a type of exercising that makes you happy and gives you the results that you want!

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Diabetic Nutrition

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't eat foods that everyone else does, it just means that you have to carefully monitor how much sugar those foods contain and if the amount of sugar in that food will positively or negatively affect your body's blood sugar levels! Carbohydrates are one of the main sources of sugar in food that we consume. So by eliminating a lot of carbs and only eating them sparingly, your blood sugar levels will decrease dramatically. You still need to eat carbohydrates and consume sugar because your body needs that sugar to create energy for your body, but because of your body's inability to produce insulin that works properly, you can only eat carbohydrates and sugar moderately. In order to receive enough sugar for your body to run and in order to make sure you are still getting the proper nutrients without going over your recommended blood sugar level, I recommend eating the following foods:


-Apples: According to The Harvard School of Public Health, those who reportedly ate five or more apples a week had a 23 percent lower risk of further developing their type 2 diabetes.


-Asparagus: Asparagus is high in an antioxidant called glutathione, which is known to help ease the effects of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.


-Avocados: Avocados are known for their heart-healthy monounsaturated fat content and just like apples, they can help lower the risk of further developing type to diabetes.


-Beans: Beans are high in fiber, a good source of protein, and in a 2012 study it was found that a cup of beans resulted in better blood sugar control.


-Blueberries: Blueberries have been found to balance blood sugar levels and they are high in fiber.


-Broccoli: Broccoli is high in vitamin C and the antioxidant beta-carotene which the body uses to create vitamin A.


-Carrots: Carrots are high in vitamin A and contain trace amounts of carbohydrates.


-Cranberries: Cranberries are high in antioxidants and are known to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol.


-Fish: Fish such as tuna and salmon are low in unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol, plus they provide a good source of omega-3 fatty acids


-Kale: Kale contains many of the main nutrients such as vitamin A and Zinc.


-Nuts: Nuts contain unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, and many other beneficial nutrients.


-Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a great way to start of your day with fiber, without the enormous amounts of sugar that come in other carbohydrate breakfast foods like cereal and pop-tarts.


-Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain that contains large amounts of iron, fiber, and can help prevent blood sugar spikes and stave off hunger.


These foods and many more can help to make your diabetes more manageable! Just because you have diabetes does not mean that you cannot consume tasty foods. You just have to make sure that the food you are eating is beneficial to you and does not contain large amounts of sugar.

The Purpose of Blood Sugar Monitoring and Adjustment

Testing our blood doesn't help to manage your diabetes unless we analyze the results and take action! Because diabetes causes problems with our body's insulin, a diabetic's cells will not receive enough insulin and there will be a build-up of glucose in the blood. When a diabetic's blood sugar rises too high, an issue arises. Blood sugar monitoring is a vital part of both a Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic's life in order to determine if they are receiving enough sugar or if the blood sugar levels need to be lowered. You can test your blood sugar levels through a glucose meter and test strips, by placing a drop of your blood onto a disposable test strip that the meter reads, analyzes, and tells you your blood sugar level. However, devices such as insulin pumps automatically distribute specific amounts of insulin into your body at scheduled times. Insulin injections can also be taken to help control blood sugar levels by moving sugar from the blood into other body tissues where it can be used for energy and to stop the liver from producing more sugar than needed. Also, supplements such as Metformin, a pill that can lower glucose production in the liver, can be taken and glucose tablets can also be used if your blood sugar level needs to be raised. How many times you check your blood a week varies, but careful blood sugar level monitoring is the only way to make sure that your are staying within your allotted blood sugar range.


Some of you are probably having the following questions:


  • "How high can our blood sugar level go?".
According to the American College of Endocrinology and Dr. Richard K Bernstein, a safe blood sugar level can be anywhere between 85 and 140 mg/dl.


  • "How regularly should I be checking my blood sugar levels?"
Doctors suggest taking your test about two hours after taking your first bite of the meal. Additionally, it is also recommended that you make a commitment to take your blood sugar levels consistently every day in order to more efficiently track your progress.


  • "What if my blood sugar levels rise too high?"

If your blood sugar levels run high I recommend going on a short walk for about 30-60 minutes. However, if you want a cost-free way in order to decrease the risk of this happening again, just make sure you are watching your consumption of carbohydrates in the first place!


By following these simple guidelines, your body can receive the proper nutrients it needs without all the nasty side effects!

Diabetic Professionals

Endocrinologist

Endocrinologists prescribe medications, diagnose diseases, treat diseases, and help restore the normal balance of hormones in the human body. These officials can help you if you're searching for someone who can help you check your hormone balance and restore your hormone balance if needed.

Psychologist

Psychologists help people cope with stressful situations, help people overcome addictions/chronic illnesses, they administer cognitive tests/assessments, and they diagnose and evaluate mental and emotional disorders. If you are having a hard time dealing with your diabetes, these professionals can help you become more emotionally competent and can help you mentally cope with your diabetes.

Clinical Researcher

Clinical researchers develop and write trial protocols, record information to form reports, and their overall job is to determine the safeness and effectiveness of medications and substances/devices used in treatment regimens for those who have a medical condition. If you are wanting to validate the safeness of your blood sugar monitoring devices or any medicines that you are taking, these professionals can see that your treatment regimens are safe.

APA Citations