Posts Tagged ‘blood sugar’

Type 2 Diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes (sometimes called type 2 “diabetes mellitus”) is a disorder that disrupts the way your body uses sugar.

All the cells in your body need sugar to work normally. Sugar gets into the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. If there is not enough insulin, or if the body stops responding to insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. That is what happens to people with diabetes.

There are two different types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the problem is that the body makes little or no insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the problem is that:

  • The body’s cells do not respond to insulin
  • The body does not make enough insulin
  • Or both

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes usually causes no symptoms which makes it very dangerous. When symptoms do occur, they include:

  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Erection problems

How do I know if I have type 2 diabetes?

To find out if you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor can do a blood test to measure the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood or an average of blood sugars through a hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c)

Fasting glucose (mg/dL) Random glucose (mg/dL)
Normal 70-99 70-125
Pre-diabetes 100-125 (varies)
Diabetes 126 200 *with symptoms

Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Yes, it can. To reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, the most important thing you can do is control your weight, and modify the dietary and lifestyle habits that are contributing to elevated blood sugar levels and insulin dysregulation.

How is type 2 diabetes treated?

You can have a lot of control over your blood sugar levels with diet and lifestyle changes, but often the use of medications and/or supplements are needed to help lower it while you continue to address the underlying cause.  Type 2 diabetes is not a chronic disease that you need to have for life.  If the appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes are made, blood glucose levels can be stabilized. The following are important steps to take if you have high blood sugar:

  • Work with a knowledgeable physician to address the underlying cause of your high blood sugar / diabetes.  This may include taking appropriate medications and/or supplements as well as addressing appropriate lifestyle and dietary factors.
  • Lose weight (if you are overweight)
  • Choose a whole foods diet including lean proteins, healthy fats (nuts, seeds, fish oils) and rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Do something active for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Avoid smoking and second hand smoke
  • Cut down on alcohol (if you drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day)
  • Consider monitoring your blood glucose at home.  We highly recommend checking throughout the day to determine the types of foods, stressors, activities that positively or negatively effecting your blood sugar levels.

In Health,

Dr. Carrie Norris

Naturopathic Medical Doctor

Healthy Weight Loss – New Year’s Resolution 2012

Surely many of you have declared 2012 the year to make the change and drop some weight.  You will find no shortage of opinions and resources available to you claiming quick results with minimal effort on your behalf.  But what truly is the best way to lose weight?  Just like most issues in medicine, the best long term solution is to correct whatever caused the problem in the first place and then let the body do the rest.

There are several factors that can contribute to the body creating and depositing excess fat.  The most common clinical reasons we see keeping people from maintaining a healthy weight are glucose/insulin dysregulation, hormone imbalances, and a sedentary lifestyle.  Often many of these go together creating a weight gaining spiral.

Blood Sugar

Maintaining consistent blood glucose levels is critical for optimal health.  Simple carbohydrates like bread and pasta are broken down to glucose quickly by the body making energy instantly available.  That readily available sugar will feed your cells for a short period of time but will quickly become depleted, causing a drop in your blood sugar.  That cycle of spiking and plummeting blood sugar often leads to decreased insulin sensitivity and deposition of fat.

A diet that helps correct this problem includes a balance of healthy protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates with every meal.  Whole foods like vegetables, healthy meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and whole grains are broken down to glucose slowly by the body creating a steady supply of fuel for your cells that keeps insulin levels stable.

Eating smaller quantities more frequently throughout the day will also help keep glucose levels consistent.  A general rule to follow is to eat meals about the size of your fist (which approximates the size of your stomach) about five or six times a day.

Hormone Balance

Hypothyroidism including subclinical hypothyroidism is incredibly common and often overlooked as an underlying factor why many people have trouble losing weight.  Your thyroid gland controls the metabolism of your entire body.  You can eat like and bird and exercise all day long and never lose weight if your thyroid gland is not functioning optimally.  To learn more about subclinical hypothyroidism please see my previous article in the FBN.

The adrenal glands secrete a stress hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol works closely with insulin and thyroid hormone to regulate blood sugar and metabolism.  Chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue which can contribute to blood sugar problems and dysfunctional metabolism.  It is not uncommon for a patient with adrenal fatigue to report they feel like a new person when they receive adrenal support.

Daily Movement, Not Exercise!

Moving your body daily for a minimum of thirty minutes is really all you need to keep your metabolism running efficiently.  The benefits of daily movement are so well documented that it is hard to find any medical problem that will not benefit from it.

For my patients that are trying to lose weight I recommend starting with walking outside (if weather permits) fifteen minutes out and fifteen minutes back everyday.  That’s it!  As endurance builds I encourage longer walks or other activities that are enjoyable.  Daily movement should never be a stress but instead something you look forward to.

Summary

Diets that assure quick results will often lead to temporary weight loss, but usually end with gaining the weight back again.  Healthy weight loss happens gradually and naturally by addressing the reasons why the weight was gained in the first place.  A healthy diet, balanced hormones, and daily movement are the three steps needed to make that happen.

Dr. Ryan Sweeney

Naturopathic Medical Doctor

Root Natural Health