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Key Points About Type 2 Diabetes
If you want to defeat your diabetes, you must understand the disease in order to beat it.
Author's Perspective: There are 4 very important points that you need to understand about Type 2 diabetes:
Point Number 1: Type 2 diabetes is more than a blood sugar problem -- it's a rotting disease that gradually destroys your tissues and organs one at a time without any symptoms, pain or discomfort. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic and biochemical/hormonal problem characterized by nutrient deficiencies and cellular starvation.
By understanding what diabetes is, it makes it easier to understand how to defeat it.
Point Number 2: The diabetic drugs do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of the rot. To make matters worse, the medications give you a false sense of security that the meds are actually doing something, so you don't feel the need or urgency to change your diet or lifestyle.
Most diabetics believe the drugs are working because the drugs lower their blood sugar. But, since diabetes is more than a blood sugar problem, you can now see that the drugs are just a false panacea.
Point Number 3: Some doctors are admitting that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed; or, at least, controlled with diet and exercise. Thirty years ago, doctors scoffed at the idea that diet and exercise could control or slow down the progression of Type 2 diabetes, let alone even reverse it.
Point Number 4: You need to visualize your diabetes and see it as your enemy that you must destroy before it destroys you. Type 2 diabetes is a ferocious disease -- a beast that will destroy your body one organ at a time.
Points Number 1 and Number 2 are related in that since most diabetics see diabetes as a blood sugar problem, they believe that the drugs are helping because they lower their blood sugar. Yes, the drugs lower your blood sugar, which is a symptom of your diabetes. But, the drugs don't stop the what's actually causing your diabetes -- the root causes.
Most diabetics don't realize that the drugs aren't really working until years later when they start to have problems with their kidneys, eyes, feet, etc. Then, they realize that the drugs were just covering up the symptoms and not addressing the actual disease itself.
For some strange reason, this is the most difficult yet the most critical point that a diabetic needs to comprehend -- that the drugs only address the symptoms and do nothing to stop the progression of their diabetes ...
In addition, since Type 2 diabetes is a biochemical/hormonal problem characterized by nutrient deficiencies and cellular starvation, you can only fix that by eating the right foods that contain the missing nutrients. And, these missing nutrients that the body requires are not in the drugs!
The key point to understand here is that as long as you continue to rely on the drugs, your diabetes will continue to get worse; and, you will end up taking more and more drugs with each passing year ...
Concerning Point Number 3, the good news is that there are now a lot of diabetes books and programs out there that claim that they can reverse your diabetes.
But, the bad news is that it's left up to you to figure out which of these diabetes books and programs will work for you. But, most of these websites won't tell you their solution unless you buy their book first. Why do they do this? Because they know that their book or program won't work for the majority of diabetics.
On the other hand, I am telling you my solution without having to buy my book first. Why? What's the catch?
Because I am confident that my solution will work. And, "the catch" is that once you verify that my solution works for you, then, you will feel more confident in buying my book to implement the rest of my program.
Point Number 4 is important because you need to visualize your diabetes and see it for the monster that it is -- a beast that is designed to kill you. And, once you realize that the beast has weaknesses and can be destroyed, you're well on your way to beating this disease and its beast.
But, first, let's take a few minutes to clearly understand what Type 2 diabetes is as a disease. Why is this important? Because, once you truly understand the disease, you'll begin to understand why the drugs won't work. Also, you'll understand which diabetes websites are telling you the truth or just running a scam to get your money.
Type 2 Diabetes Is A Rotting Disease
In simple terms, Type 2 diabetes (also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM) is a rotting disease. I know that may sound crude, but, hopefully you get my point.
Once you realize that this disease is rotting out your insides, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a bunch of prescription drugs aren't going to stop the rot and the spread of this disease.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease of insulin resistance, cell inflammation, oxidation, and glycation that gradually spreads the rot throughout the body, causing serious damage to major tissues and organs such as the arteries, eyes, kidneys, feet, heart and brain.
The main reason why this disease is able to progress and spread the rot to the various tissues and organs is because (initially) there is no discomfort or pain associated with this disease (for many years).
And, because there is no discomfort or pain, we don't take this disease seriously. So, there is no real concern or motivation to do anything about this disease.
In addition, we take diabetic medications to keep our bloodglucose in check, so we think that there is nothing to worry about! We don't realize that the disease is still progressing and the medications do absolutely nothing to stop the progression!
So, we think that everything is fine, until one day, we begin to notice some small problems with things like blurry vision, or numbness in our foot, or a small bruise or sore that doesn't seem to heal. Or, our doctor tells us that we have protein leaking in our urine, which is an early sign of potential kidney damage.
Author's Sidebar: I can't tell you the number of people we've met who truly believed that nothing was going to happen to them. Some of them tell us that they wish that we had been more forceful with our message ...
Type 2 Diabetes Is a Ferocious Disease -- A Beast That Will Destroy You
Once you realize that Type 2 diabetes is a disease that rots out your body, then, it shouldn't take much convincing that Type 2 diabetes is a ferocious disease -- a hungry beast that will devour your body, one organ at a time.
If you ran into Frankenstein, the Wolfman or Dracula, would you know how to kill him? I know I sound a little nuts, but, bear with me for just a moment.
In all the monster movies, the person who was able to kill the monster knew the monster's weaknesses and used that knowledge to kill it.
Well, the same thinking applies to fighting a disease like Type 2 diabetes or any disease for that matter. You have to understand the weaknesses of the disease in order to defeat the disease.
Diabetes is primarily an invisible disease that operates in stealth mode. Just imagine if you were fighting the Invisible Man. It would be difficult because you can't see him! The same thinking applies to fighting an invisible disease like diabetes.
You want to bring the disease out of the darkness and into the light so that you can destroy it. By keeping the disease in the dark, it gets stronger and you get weaker, making it difficult for you to beat your diabetes.
As an engineer, I tend to use a lot of charts and diagrams. :-) But, charts and diagrams don't really help you as a diabetic to visualize your disease on an emotional and spiritual level.
Thanks to my daughter (Cynthia), I recalled some images and nightmares from my coma recovery that reminded me of the fear I felt during my coma recovery -- these images were a lot more powerful that a flow chart or some diagram about diabetes. :-)
I also recalled certain monsters that scared me as a child growing up, such as Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and Dracula. Modern movies such as Alien and The Thing were also scary to me.
And, with the help of a genius artist and videographer, that led me to come up with the picture of a monster to represent Type 2 diabetes as a hideous beast.
Hopefully, these images will help you recognize that Type 2 diabetes is a ferocious disease -- a hungry beast that destroys your organs one at a time.
And, because the Diabetes Beast is able to damage your body without causing much pain (if any), we tend to relax as the Beast silently destroys the blood vessels to our eyes, kidneys, feet, brain and heart.
By the time, we recognize that the drugs haven't helped to stop the progression of the Diabetes, it's almost too late to stop it.
Fortunately, with help from my daughter, sister and mother, I was able to not only get the Diabetes Beast under control, I was able to reverse my diabetes and kill the Beast before it almost killed me.
I discovered during my research that the Diabetes Beast has specific strengths and weaknesses. Eating unhealthy foods (which I called the 5 "Dead" foods) help to strengthen the Beast. This allowed the diabetes to progress causing more damage to my cells, tissues and organs while accelerating me towards my impending death.
Eating healthy foods (which I called the 5 "Live" foods) helped to strengthen me while weakening the Beast and, more importantly, stop the diabetes from progressing towards my impending death.
Now, you can do the same -- you can get the Beast under control and reverse your diabetes in order to kill your diabetes before it kills you.
Just follow the instructions in my free diabetes ebook to test the program or get my book (Death to Diabetes) to implement the entire program.
As a result, you get to do what thousands of other diabetics have done -- kill the Beast and put the Beast in the graveyard -- death to the disease -- death to diabetes ...
Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes Are You Diabetic?
If you're not sure if you are diabetic, review the symptoms (listed above) and ask your doctor for a complete physical exam.
If you want to know whether you or a family member may be at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, take a look at the diagrams (below) or review the following list of risk factors:
- Abdominal fat: waistline greater than 40 in. (man), 35 in. (woman)
- Note: Abdominal fat is biologically more active, causing inflammation
- Overweight/obesity: Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25
- Note: 5-10% of Type 2s are not overweight or obese
- Poor nutrition: too many processed foods
- Sedentary lifestyle: very little physical activity or exercise
- Age: 45 years or older
- High blood glucose: 126 or higher
- High blood pressure: 130/80 or higher
- High triglycerides: over 150
- Low HDL cholesterol: under 40 for men, 50 for women
- High inflammation: high homocysteine, high C-reactive protein
- A family history: of Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease
- Non-Caucasian ethnicity: Hispanic-American, African-American, Native-American, Asian- American
- Poor mental health: e.g. depression, anxiety
- Gestational diabetes: during multiple pregnancies
- Drug use: tobacco, alcohol; prescription, OTC, recreational drugs
- Inflammation markers: C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-α), Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
Note 1: If you have 3 or more of these risk factors, you may be at risk for being diabetic or eventually developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Note 2: If you've been diagnosed as having prediabetes, you can prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes, but you must heed the warning and take action to change your eating habits and lifestyle.
Note 3: There are several reasons why more than 41% of people with prediabetes develop full-blown diabetes, e.g. denial, lack of awareness, failure to change diet or lifestyle, etc. One of the reasons is due to Western Medicine seeing "prediabetes" as a separate disease instead of as one of the (developmental) stages of Type 2 diabetes pathogenesis!
Note 4: You do not have to be overweight to be diabetic. Almost 11% of Type 2 diabetics are not overweight. That's why it's important to follow a wellness program such as the Death to Diabetes program instead of a weight loss program!
Type 2 Diabetes Overview: The Science
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic, biochemical and hormonal disorder where the body is unable to maintain glucose homeostasis and the cells have lost the ability to effectively utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas. This is known as insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is also a disease of hormonal imbalances, specifically insulin, glucagon, leptin, and cortisol.
Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, because it primarily affected older adults. But today with more children being overweight and sedentary, Type 2 diabetes is affecting children as well as adults.
As a result, Type 2 diabetes has reached such an epidemic level that 1 out of every 2 people knows someone who is diabetic! In fact, you may be surprised at the number of famous people and celebrities who are diabetic.
Type 2 diabetes is fueled by several harmful and damaging biological processes, including cellular inflammation, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, glucose transporter (GLUT4) dysfunction, leptin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, protein glycation, excess oxidation, hypertriglyceridemia, cellular dehydration, toxic overload, mineral deficiencies, and other nutrient deficiencies.
As a result, Type 2 diabetes is not just one biological problem -- it is a combination of cellular dehydration, nutrient starvation (vitamin/mineral deficiencies), insulin resistance, leptin resistance, cellular inflammation, lack of glucose homeostasis, hormonal imbalance, rotting, toxicity, and oxidative stress.
These biological processes cause damage to trillions of cells, which can lead to a dysregulated immune system and multiple health problems.
In other words, Type 2 diabetes is more than just a "blood sugar" disease!
This is important to understand because once you realize that controlling your blood sugar is only one component to defeat your diabetes, then, achieving the ultimate goal of reversing your diabetes ("death to your diabetes") is within your reach.
Insulin resistance and cellular inflammation reinforce each other via a positive feedback loop, causing more cell damage and preventing your body's cells from effectively using the insulin produced by the pancreas.
As depicted in the diagram (below), the insulin receptors on the surface of each cell are damaged (inflamed), ignoring the presence of insulin in your blood and refusing to allow glucose from your blood to enter your cells and be transported throughout the cell via the glucose transporters [1a].
Consequently, the glucose stays in the blood, causing your blood glucose level to rise [1b]. As a result, the cells can't produce energy or burn fat . In addition, the cells are unable to remove toxins and waste ; and, over time, the cells may become further damaged and lose the ability to communicate with each other .
Biology: Cell Function Within a Type 2 Diabetic's Body
The cells in your body require the glucose (as fuel) in order to produce energy. Without this fuel, your cells cannot produce energy and perform their functions.
Some of this glucose is stored in the liver. But most of it enters the bloodstream and travels to the cells to be used as fuel. Glucose needs the help of a hormone called insulin to enter the cells.
Insulin, which is made in the pancreas, is released into the bloodstream in response to the presence of glucose in the blood (i.e. after eating food). Think of insulin as a key. When insulin reaches a cell, it attaches to the cell wall. This signals the cell to create an opening that allows glucose to enter the cell.
But with Type 2 diabetes, your cells don’t respond properly to insulin. Because of this, less glucose than normal moves into cells. This is called insulin resistance.
In response, the pancreas makes more insulin. As less and less glucose enters the cells, it builds up to a harmful level in the bloodstream. This is known as high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.
The result is Type 2 diabetes. The cells become starved for energy, which can leave you feeling tired and rundown.
The sustained high blood glucose levels drive the beta cells of the pancreas to produce more insulin, which may cause the beta cells to begin to "wear out". Gradually, this may lead to beta cell dysfunction, which will reduce insulin production and cause blood glucose levels to rise even further.
As depicted in the diagram (below) this creates vicious cycles of metabolic, biochemical and hormonal imbalances that further fuel this progressive disease.
Over a period of years, these metabolic imbalances of excess glucose, insulin resistance, beta cell dysfunction, and cellular inflammation continue to feed each other, spreading more damage to more cells.
This leads to an increase in the production of fat cells and the need for more insulin from those cells. This increases the fat storage, especially in the abdomen area, while inhibiting fat metabolism because of the excess insulin (known as hyperinsulinemia).
The excess glucose and excess fat also lead to a build up of fat in the cells, causing an increase in your triglycerides.
The excess fat then produces more leptin, the hormone that tells your brain when to eat, how much to eat, and most importantly, when to stop eating.
But, when your leptin levels become chronically elevated, you become leptin resistant—your body can no longer "hear" the hormonal signals telling your brain you're full and should stop eating.
As a result, you gain even more weight, creating a vicious ongoingcycle of high glucose levels, leptin resistance and insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 diabetes.
Just as with insulin, the only known way to reestablish proper leptin signaling is through proper diet, including the right type of fiber, which is primarily that from vegetables.
In addition, there is an increase in oxidative stress, glycation, and a depletion of key micronutrients such as potassium, chromium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E causing a severe nutrient deficiency.
All of this dysfunction leads to more cell membrane damage and a buildup of homocysteine, which causes damage to the artery walls.
The liver produces extra cholesterol to try to repair the damage to the artery walls, but, instead, this leads to arterial plaque formation and an increase in blood viscosity and blood pressure.
This is why many diabetics end up taking multiple prescription medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Unfortunately, this combination of medications just makes matters worse.
However, as previously mentioned, there is more to diabetes than the insulin resistance and inflammation. There are biochemical and hormonal cycles and imbalances (root causes) that fuel diabetes, including excess oxidation, glycation, adrenal fatigue, and toxicity.
There is also insufficient nutrient absorption by the gastrointestinal system causing nutrient deficiencies. All of these biochemical and hormonal imbalances continue to fuel the disease and cause damage throughout the body. This leads to problems with the eyes, kidneys, feet, heart and brain.
As depicted in the following diagrams, Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease due to a series of vicious cycles of biochemical and hormonal imbalances that wreak havoc and damage throughout the body.
Consequently, you must break the “Cycle of Diabetes” at the cellular level to stop the damage. Otherwise, this will lead to blindness, kidney dialysis, amputation, heart attack and stroke.
Since billions of cells have been damaged by the diabetes, the body requires a comprehensive nutritional and detox program that removes the excess toxins, reduces the oxidative damage, breaks the vicious cycles, and initiates the body's repair process to repair the cellular damage and heal the body.
However, the good news is that these biological changes and metabolic, biochemical and hormonal imbalances can be corrected and these complications prevented with a diabetes wellness program that includes superior nutrition, anti-inflammatory foods, a proper exercise regimen, spiritual health, and less stress in your life.
The One Thing You Need to Know About Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is not just a blood sugar problem. More importunity, Type 2 diabetes is a disease of cellular starvation, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, excess oxidation, excess glycation, excess toxicity, nutrient deficiencies, and weakened immune function.
By understanding this one thing about diabetes, you can better envision what it will take to defeat the disease.
For example, you can see that a nutritional program must be powerful enough to address cellular starvation, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, oxidation and protein glycation.
Most diabetes diet programs focus on hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, but, they fail to address the other areas. That's why most of these programs may work in the short-term, but, not in the long-term.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes often develops slowly from a condition called pre-diabetes, and symptoms may not be apparent for years.
Symptoms can include excessive thirst, which develops because hyperglycemia, or high levels of glucose in the blood, acts as a sponge to pull fluid out of the body's tissues. This leads to dehydration and extreme thirst as well as frequent urination. This also pulls fluid away from the eyes, resulting in blurred vision.
Because the body's cells aren't able to get the glucose they need for energy, people with type 2 diabetes may feel tired and fatigued.
Without the proper energy supply for the cells, people with type 2 diabetes may feel very hungry, and weight loss may result because the body has to use other sources for energy, such as burning muscle and fat stores.
High levels of sugar in the blood make it more difficult for the body to resist and fight infections and to heal, resulting in frequent infections, especially skin infections and open, slow healing sores.
High amounts of glucose in the blood can also lead to nonketotic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, coma, and shock.
Over time hyperglycemia damages the body's blood vessels, leading to serious long-term complications, such as kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy and blindness, peripheral neuropathy and amputation, digestive issues (i.e gastroparesis), serious skin infections, gangrene, cardiovascular disease, stroke, disability, and death.
Other symptoms include skin rashes, urinary tract infections, candida, dry itchy skin, skin ulcers, flaky skin, foot tingling/numbness, hand tingling/ numbness, sexual problems, erectile dysfunction, unusual vaginal dryness, premature menopause, absent periods, drowsiness, excessive weight gain (especially in the belly area), and the inability to lose weight (especially the belly fat).
Later more extreme symptoms when blood sugars get higher include excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive hunger, severe blurred vision, bed wetting - in children, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, headaches, irritability, fatigue, and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a very severe life - threatening complication of high blood sugars, requiring emergency treatment, which has very severe symptoms:
- Sweet-smelling fruity acetone breath
- Breathing difficulty
- Rapid Pulse
- Abdominal pain - usually in children
The Major Complications of Diabetes
The major short-term complications associated with Type 2 diabetes include the following:
- Hyperosmolar Syndrome
As Type 2 diabetes progresses over the years, it rots outs the inside of your body, which eventually leads to one or more of the following long-term complications:
- Kidney Disease (Dialysis)
- Eye Disease (Blindness)
- Nerve Disease (Amputation)
- Heart Disease (Heart Attack, Stroke)
If you have any doubt that diabetes is a rotting disease, just take a look at some of the complications that develop because of this disease:
Other Diabetic Complications
Other complications associated with Type 2 diabetes include the following:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Obesity/Weight Gain
- Periodontal Disease
- Frequent Infections
- Bruises That Don’t Heal
- Sexual Dysfunction, e.g. erectile dysfunction
- Chronic Fatigue & Adrenal Fatigue
- Macular Degeneration
For more details about the root causes of Type 2 diabetes, the science of diabetes and the 6 major stages of diabetes pathogenesis, refer to the following web pages:
Note: If you have hypoglycemia, refer to our Hypoglycemia and How to Treat It Naturally web page.
FYI: Other types of diabetes include, but, are not limited to, the following:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
- Type 1.5 LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults)
- Type 3 Diabetes (Alzheimer's)
- MODY (Maturity onset diabetes of the young)
- Brittle Diabetes
- Double Diabetes
- Steroid-induced Diabetes (incl. CFRD, Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes)
What to Do After Initial Diagnosis
If you have been recently diagnosed, you may be in shock or you may be sad or overwhelmed or have feelings of fear and anxiety.
First of all, your feelings are normal so don't panic. Believe it or not, the primary reason for your feelings is due to the lack of information about what to do next and how to get your disease under control.
Mr. McCulley had many of the same feelings, but, he said he was lucky because his mother, sister and daughter were there to take care of him and do things like grocery-shopping, cooking, running errands, etc.
Mr. McCulley also had a great job with great people; plus, he had great health insurance, so he didn't have to worry about his income or about the costs for test strips, syringes, insulin, and other drugs.
And, because he was on disability, he didn't have to worry about driving or going to work; so, his stress level was reduced significantly.
Thanks to his daughter, Mr. McCulley got off to a great start because she purchased the insulin, syringes, test strips, lancets, etc. so when Mr. McCulley got home from the hospital, he was able to begin testing his blood glucose immediately.
If you have been recently diagnosed, here are some key tasks to consider doing to get off to a great start.
Don't beat yourself up about it. It's natural to ask yourself"What did I do?" The important part is to move past this. You could feel bad or guilty, but the more quickly you move on to "What can I do about this?" the better.
Know that developing Type 2 diabetes does not represent a personal failing. It develops through a combination of factors that are still being uncovered and better understood. Lifestyle (food, exercise, stress, sleep) certainly plays a major role, but genetics may play a role as well.
Don't panic. Many people are horrified when they hear the word diabetes. It could be the idea of using insulin needles, pricking their finger to test blood sugar, or never eating a piece of cake again. There are a lot of myths floating around about Type 2 diabetes.
Look to someone who had diabetes (like Mr. McCulley) or look to a diabetes educator or other people with diabetes to help fill in the details on what you can eat, whether insulin hurts, or how hard it is to prick your own finger. Most people find these aren't as bad as they expected.
Taking care of your diabetes soon after diagnosis (and before) will pay off now and in the long term. Type 2 diabetes is not a death sentence by any stretch, but it is a serious disease that demands your attention immediately. Ignoring it may not seem to have significant short-term consequences (chronic high blood glucose levels are not painful), but over time, the elevated glucose levels can damage your nervous system, blood vessels, eyes, heart, and kidneys.
In the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program study, even a small percent of people with prediabetes were found to have evidence of eye disease (retinopathy). Managing your blood glucose levels now, along with other health risk factors (e.g., cholesterol, blood pressure, weight), is necessary for preventing these complications.
Losing even a small amount of weight and keeping it off can also improve glucose control as well as have other clinical benefits (read more tips on managing diet and exercise below for more on weight loss). Keep in mind that better diabetes management will also benefit you in the here and now – your mood and energy levels are adversely affected when your glucose levels are high.
Confirm the diagnosis. Even if a first test says you're diabetic, a second test is advised before deeming the diagnosis official. The initial results may be unreliable if, say, the lab made a mistake or if you accidentally ate or drank before being tested.
Educate yourself about Type 2 diabetes. This is one of the most important steps that you can take. Learning about diabetes and how to treat it naturally can be very empowering and can relieve a lot of stress once you realize that you can control this disease.
Get a book like Death to Diabetes -- it explains everything you need to know about how to manage your diabetes naturally.
Keep learning and find support! The more you learn about Type 2 diabetes – from organizations and other people – the more you will realize how much there is to know.
Join a local and/or online diabetic support group, e.g. TuDiabetes, Diabetes Daily, Diabetic Connect, Death to Diabetes Support Group.
Seek out a Diabetes Educator. Diabetes educators are certified health care professionals with specialized knowledge in diabetes self-management and education. They provide real-life guidance, coaching, and support. To receive diabetes education, you can ask for a referral from your primary health care provider. Going to a diabetes educator is covered by Medicare Part B as well as many health insurance plans. You can learn more by using this resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
Recognize that Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. By the time a person is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they have already been diabetic for at least 1 to 3 years. This is why it's important to begin educating yourself and taking action as soon as possible.
Assemble your team. Regular visits with your primary-care physician are key. He or she will focus on helping you reach your target blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and can refer you to other helpful healthcare providers such as a diabetes educator or dietitian.
Dietitians can help you devise a diabetes-friendly meal plan that will still suit your taste buds; diabetes educators make certain you know the ins and outs of your disease, including how to check your blood sugar at home. Personalized diabetes education soon after diagnosis can dramatically improve blood sugar levels.
Check your insurance to see what's covered. Group and individual health plans vary in the amounts of monthly premiums, deductibles, and copayments, as well as which health care providers' services are covered and where. Be prepared to ask questions.
Does your insurance cover diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES)? Ask your primary care provider to refer you to an accredited or recognized DSMES or to a certified diabetes educator (CDE) or registered dietitian (RD)/registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) for medical nutrition therapy (MNT).
Note: Be sure to ask if you have to meet a deductible to get coverage for diabetes management classes.
Diabetes education obtained from one of the accredited or recognized programs is covered by Medicare Part B and many private health plans. The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognize programs.
Get on a balanced meal plan. Diabetics are often encouraged to change their diet to consume fewer carbohydrates and fats, since carbs can cause blood sugar spikes, while fatty foods can raise cholesterol.
Start by avoiding high glycemic foods such as flour, sugar, bread, pasta, rice,; and, trimming portion sizes, cutting out saturated and trans fats, and avoiding soda/diet soda. Follow a sound, science-based and proven diet such as the Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program.
A food diary may also help by revealing which foods have the biggest effect on your blood sugar.
Avoid medication if at all possible. Make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes to control your blood sugar. If you don't, your doctor will put you on a diabetic drug. Metformin (e.g. Glucophage) is generally recommended as a first-line treatment for Type 2 diabetes.
To make matters worse, your doctor may put you on a cholesterol-lowering statin to lower your cholesterol; and a blood pressure drug for high blood pressure. Unfortunately, taking this many drugs tends to make your diabetes even worse and keeps your body in a diabetic state!
Exercise. Regular physical activity not only helps to shed pounds but can also improve blood sugar levels. Diabetics should spend at least 30 minutes, five days a week doing moderate exercise such as walking or swimming.
But if you're the type who'd rather watch football on TV than toss one in the backyard, realize that exercise doesn't have to be a production. It can be incorporated into your daily routine, e.g. hang laundry instead of using the dryer; take the stairs instead of the elevator; park farther away from the supermarket entrance.
Schedule regular screenings. Annual eye and foot exams can catch early signs of problems that may lead to blindness or amputation. Also, people with diabetes get screened for kidney disease every year.
Develop a positive attitude. Sure, diabetes is scary. But keeping a bright outlook is just as important as exercise and healthy eating. Reach out to friends and family for support.
Use blood glucose testing to identify patterns. When it comes to managing blood sugar, think of your glucose meter as a compass. By testing before and after certain events like meals and exercise, these data can point the way toward factors that affect your blood glucose.
You can make this fun by approaching it like a scientist: How much does walking lower my blood glucose? How does a dinner of chicken and vegetables compare to a pasta meal?
To make your glucose results more useful, you can try structured testing, a more strategic approach to checking your blood sugar – Accu-Chek has developed two free tools to help identify blood sugar patterns that you can download.
Remember that the purpose of collecting glucose readings is to give you information to optimize your therapy. Are you running consistently high after breakfast? Is your blood sugar dropping low in the middle of the night? Recognizing such patterns in your glucose readings can answer these types of questions and help you and your healthcare provider make changes to your diabetes management.
In addition to the above tasks, don't be shy -- ask a lot of questions. There is no such thing as a dumb questions.
Ask questions. Important questions to ask your health care provider, dietitian, diabetes health coach, pharmacist, or diabetes educator about your food and medications:
- What foods should I eat?
- What foods should I avoid?
- How many meals should I have daily?
- How many calories should I be eating daily and with each meal?
- How many carbs can I have with each meal?
- When should I exercise?
- What can I do to avoid medications?
- How does food vs. the medication lower my blood sugar?
- How quickly will food vs. medications start to lower my blood sugar in the short- and long-term?
- How much of which foods should I eat to lower my blood sugar?
- How much (dosage), when (before or with meals), and how often (frequency) do I take the medicine?
- What are the side effects associated with these medications?
- When should I call my health care provider about a side effect or high or low blood sugar?
- Does this medication interact with any of my other medications?
- What nonprescription medicines (over-the-counter, supplements, or herbals) interact with the medication?
- How often should I test my blood sugar?
- When is the best time to test my blood sugar to assess how my medications, food, and activity are working to manage it?
- What else can I do to lower my blood sugar?
- What can I do to lose some weight?
Note: If Mr. McCulley had to select one task as the most important to him reversing his diabetes, he said that he would select research and education. It helped him to better understand his diabetes and what he needed to do.
Why Am I So Tired?
After years of being diabetic, the amount of glucose has steadily increased with most of it remaining in your bloodstream -- that's why your blood glucose readings are high.
More importantly, the amount of glucose is decreasing within your actual cells, because it can't get into your cells -- this is called insulin resistance.
If you have been taking diabetic medication, you have been under the false premise that the drugs were working.
So, the primary reason why you feel so tired is because your cells are unable to pull in glucose.
Without glucose, your cells can't produce fuel (ATP, adenosine triphosphate). Without fuel, your cells can't produce energy.
And, without energy, you'll feel tired. The cells must be repaired so that they can, once again, pull in glucose to produce ATP and energy.
That's the simple explanation. Now, let's go a little deeper into this fatigue issue.
First, diabetes can directly cause fatigue with high or low blood sugar levels.
High blood glucose: makes your blood “sludgy,” slowing circulation so cells can’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need. If your blood glucose is high in the morning, you may feel groggy, lethargic or you may have a feeling like you were drugged.
Low glucose levels: also cause fatigue, because when blood sugar is low, there is not enough fuel for the cells to work well.
Low glucose levels in the middle of the night: If your blood glucose drops too low at night (usually after 2am), this can wake you up and you may find it difficult to go back to sleep.
Inflammation: In addition, high blood glucose can cause fatigue through cell inflammation. When blood vessels get inflamed by the glucose, immune cells called monocytes come into the brain, causing fatigue.
Then, there are causes that associated with your lifestyle. Some examples of activities that can make you feel fatigued include:
Lack of sleep or poor sleep: Some people are too wound up or too busy to sleep. Or they’re up to use the bathroom all night, or they have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can wake them up many times an hour. If that is happening to you, you are likely to be fatigued during the day.
Shift work: Rotating shifts or working nights can cause fatigue directly by interfering with your body clock or indirectly by disrupting sleep.
Depression: High blood glucose can lower your serotonin levels. Also, dealing with your diabetes 34/7 can be very taxing and overwhelming, especially if your health is not improving. As a result, depression is very common with diabetes. Most depressed people feel fatigued, even if they don’t feel sad. Even at low levels, depression can sap your motivation. Why get up?
Doing too much: If you’re ripping and running all day, not taking breaks or even stopping to breathe much, you are courting fatigue. Forcing yourself to do everything can cause the fatigue to worsen. Also, if you over-exercise this can leave you fatigued later on because you have exhausted your glucose stores (e.g. glycogen in your liver).
Stress: In small doses, psychological or physical stress can give you energy, but if it goes on too long, it will wear you out.
Diet: Too much carbohydrates — especially refined carbs — can make anyone tired, especially with diabetes. Eating a plant-based higher protein/fat, lower-carbohydrate diet in conjunction with raw juicing will help.
Caffeine: Too much caffeine can cause fatigue through a rebound effect. Dehydration, or not drinking enough water, is a major cause of fatigue.
Being out of shape or having weak muscles: Not moving our bodies contributes to fatigue. Of course, it’s hard to exercise when you’re fatigued.
Weight loss merry-go-round: If you have gone through a lot of weight loss and weight regain cycles, this can cause your body to lose lean muscle tissue and slow down your metabolism and your body's ability to burn fat as fuel. If your body can't burn fat as fuel, it uses up all of your glucose, depleting your glucose stores.
Aging: It is normal to have less energy as we age, but this slowing down should not be dramatic. If loss of energy is rapid or severe, there is something else going on.
Besides the diabetes, there are other medical conditions that can cause fatigue including:
Anemia, or low red blood cell counts: It’s easy to be tested for anemia. If you’ve got it, it’s usually due to deficiency of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B-12, or to heavy menstrual bleeding in women (which results in iron deficiency).
Low thyroid (hypothyroidism): people with diabetes are more likely than others to have thyroid problems. If your thyroid level is low, you are likely to feel tired, sleepy, and depressed. Read our web page about thyroid problems and what to do.
Low testosterone levels, especially in men: Men with diabetes are much more likely to have low testosterone.
Infections: People with diabetes often have infections they don’t know about. Infections take energy to fight, which can cause fatigue and raise blood sugar levels. A common source is urinary tract or bladder infections. They often hurt, but sometimes have no symptoms, except for the fatigue. Silent dental infections and vaginal infections are also common and fatiguing.
Undiagnosed heart disease: If you get tired after tasks that you used to sail through, it could be time to for a heart check-up.
Conditions like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. These are autoimmune disorders, which are more common in women, but men get them too. Fatigue is the main symptom. Many other diseases cause fatigue — here is a more comprehensive list on the U.S. National Library of Medicine/Medline Plus website.
Medication side effects: Many drugs for diabetes, blood pressure, depression, pain, and other issues can cause fatigue. Also, be wary of synthetic herbal and vitamin supplements. Read labels, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This list is not complete, but, it should give you enough insight into the fatigue issue.
Type 2 Diabetes: Thyroid, Leaky Gut and Immune System Connection
Are you having problems with digestion, food allergies, stomach discomforts, thyroid issues, etc. on top of having to deal with blood glucose problems?
You may be asking: What do all of these problems have to do with each other?
As you can see from the diagram (below), blood glucose, the thyroid, leaky gut and inflammation are all interconnected.
Note: For more information about leaky gut, refer to the AIP & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program web page.
Next Steps to Reverse Diabetes
Now that you have an understanding of your diabetes and what it is doing and going to do to you, it's time to take action. So, listen to this ex-diabetic engineer who almost died from diabetes: You can beat this disease and reverse your diabetes, but, only if you're willing to make some changes.
And, don't forget, this is the only diabetes book where you get to talk to the author and gain his perspective on the disease and how he beat it and how you can beat it also.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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