It starts out slow. You have been thin your whole life. Your metabolism starts to slow as you age, but you still feel like eating. You might stop for a morning donut (or a few!) at your favorite bakery. Before you know it, it’s been 30 years of donuts and enjoying any food you want. The time has slipped away from you, and the weight has accumulated on you.
My father’s doctor told him over five years ago he was in the beginning stage of Type 2 diabetes. He was in his mid-50s. He had no idea. He knew he was overweight. He knew he needed to eat less and work out more, but he didn’t realize he was slipping into diabetes. I believe this is how much of America feels, with increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. Although type 2 diabetes is all over the media, nobody ever really believes it will be them.
When the doctor told my dad about it, he wished he had known they were monitoring him sooner. The doctor told him his A1C levels were borderline diabetic. It was time to continually monitor his sugar levels, exercise (more) and clean up his diet.
What is A1C?
This is the hemoglobin test (aka glycohemoglobin) that shows an average of blood sugar levels over the previous 2-3 months. This will be monitored on an ongoing basis after you start to develop symptoms for type 2 diabetes.
How do people really end up with Type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is caused by the insulin resistance, or lack of insulin production, in the body. Meaning, the body isn’t using it right, so the pancreas overproduces. It can’t keep up, and then eventually can no longer function. This causes hyperglycemia, and if left uncontrolled over time causes type 2 diabetes. Eventually, the pancreas can stop producing insulin altogether, and then insulin injections will become necessary.
Ok, that’s the technical version. What is it that people are doing to themselves to cause this type of trauma to the pancreas?
Sometimes it’s not what someone does, but just genetics and age. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders and older individuals are higher risk. Please note, it is possible to develop type 2 diabetes with proper lifestyle choices and without genetic history. It’s important to speak with your doctor about your personal situation.
So what about the rest of us?
Lifestyle choices are the main cause. These causes are poor food choices, eating too much, being overweight or obese, and lack of exercise. These choices are why we are talking about this on Move It Monday! Time to get ourselves moving and see if it makes a difference.
What can we do if we are developing type 2 diabetes? Or how can we prevent it?
My father will freely tell you he wishes his doctor had told him sooner he was having fluctuating A1C levels. Why? Because he would have started sooner. Yes, he spent many years making poor lifestyle choices, but once he was told he has tried to make changes.
What does he do?
He exercises and makes different food choices. Of course with any exercise routine, sometimes he suffers setbacks. He can tell you he experiences lower blood sugar levels with exercise and proper diet. If he has days without exercise and slips up on his food choices, he sees changes in his sugar.
This idea is not just something my father noticed but is also part of research. A Newcastle University, England study showed a low-calorie diet helps. Over a long period of time, this diet can help adjust blood sugar levels, and possibly help the person avoid diabetic medications.
Weight loss has helped control my father’s sugar even more. The less he weighs the easier it is for him to control his sugar. Is this just him? NO, it’s not.
A study from Newcastle University, England showed losing pancreatic, and liver, fat can help reverse type 2 diabetes. That’s right folks! Reverse! So it makes sense that with weight loss, type 2 diabetes can improve or even cease. Don’t wait, make a change now.
Our lifestyle choices of diet, exercise and moderation are important. They do make a difference in our health. As part of Move It Monday, let’s get out there, take a walk and get some fresh air. Let’s have a Meatless Monday dinner to boot, and enjoy our health. Make it a habit, prevent or work to reverse your type 2 diabetes.
Note: This article is a personal story, with educational information and studies. It is not medical advice. Before beginning any new exercise routine, diet, or weight loss program, check with your doctor to be sure it’s safe for you.