Diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are too high.
In Type 2 Diabetes, the central problem is insulin resistance: Insulin is responsible for moving sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells. Certain genetic inherited traits combined with, most importantly, being overweight, cause cells to resist the effects of insulin. This leaves too much sugar in the bloodstream and this is Diabetes. [Slightly simplified explanation]
Persistently raised blood sugar level causes an array of problems and medical complications, including heart disease, stroke, poor circulation, eye problems, kidney problems, and more.
The aim of Diabetes treatment is to control blood sugar levels through a combination of dietary & lifestyle changes as well as medication. In this way the risk of complications can be lowered.
The normal target is a fasting blood sugar of less than 6.5-7.0 mmol/l and or an HBA1c (special test that measures average blood sugar over time) of 7% or less. Please note: these are general / average targets that you and your doctor may change for you.
The ideal diet for a person with Diabetes is a Low Glycaemic Index diet (Low GI diet) that is also low-fat and aids weight control – professional dietary advice should ideally be sought.
Most people with Type 2 Diabetes will need medications and a small percentage may need insulin treatment too.
A home-use blood sugar monitoring device is an excellent idea for anyone with Diabetes.
Those with Diabetes are usually well advised to take very good care of their feet and to have regular eye check-ups. General healthy living and several special interventions such as flu vaccinations are also often recommended.
Careful consideration should be given to any and all associated cardiovascular risk factors, with weight control, exercise, not smoking, stress management, blood pressure and cholesterol being the most important.
Diabetes is a complex condition – it is best managed through a close partnership between patient, doctor, and various specialists like dieticians, ophthalmologists, and podiatrists.