A Guide to Understanding What Type 2 Diabetes Is


Diagnosing Tools for Type 2 Diabetes Cont.

Fasting Blood Glucose Test

A fasting blood glucose test involves consuming no calories overnight. A blood glucose level is obtained.

  • Normal: less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L)
  • Prediabetes: 100-125mg/dL (5.6 – 6.9 mmol/L)
  • Type 2 diabetes: 126mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or greater on two separate occasions

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

An oral glucose tolerance test involves fasting overnight, then obtaining a fasting blood glucose level. Then, a sugary liquid is consumed, and blood glucose levels are drawn.

  • Normal: less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L)
  • Prediabetes: 140-199 mg/dL (7.8 – 11.0 mmol/L)
  • Type 2 diabetes: 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) and higher

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

We don’t fully know what causes type 2 diabetes, but we have pinpointed several risk factors that seem to increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Keep in mind that having these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will develop type 2 diabetes. You could also have none of these risk factors and still develop type 2 diabetes.

  • Being overweight tends to predispose people to type 2 diabetes.
  • Having excess fat also increases your risk, especially if you carry excess fat in your abdomen.
  • Your risk seems to increase if you are inactive.
  • A family history of type 2 diabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Having a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) tends to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Having or had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, as well as having given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms) predisposes you to type 2 diabetes.
  • Certain ethnicities seem to have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes – these are blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian-Americans.

Traditional and Natural Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

How you’ll be treated for your diabetes is dependent on those pesky little numbers we discussed previously.

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The A1C, the fasting and/or random glucose numbers? Yes, your provider will probably use those numbers to determine how you’ll be treated.

For example, there are treatment algorithms that are updated yearly, and they are available to providers by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). These algorithms are based on best practice guidelines and help to guide patients into target blood glucose targets based on A1C results. They may recommend starting.

There are many available diabetic medications that your physician may prescribe. Often, the first medication is called metformin (Glucophage). Other medications (or insulin) are added if this medication is not tolerated, or if blood glucose numbers to do not hit their targets with this medication alone.

Natural Ways to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

You may be tempted to seek “natural” treatments for type 2 diabetes. There are plenty of supplements that you could try but the best natural path to take is getting lots of exercise and changing your regular diet to a diabetic diet.

If you haven’t already, ask your physician for a referral to speak with a registered dietitian (RD). Evidence indicates that those with diabetes who have medical nutrition therapy (MNT) with an RD may see an A1C reduction of 0.3-2%!

And what will an RD teach you about? Carb counting!

You’ll need to know how to eat healthfully while balancing your blood glucose numbers, which means eating a balanced number of carbohydrates at each meal and snack. This is extremely important and becomes increasingly important if you begin to take insulin that requires dosing based on your carbohydrate intake.

An RD can also devise an eating plan that will promote body weight goals, as well as blood pressure and lipid goals.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with type 2 diabetes should engage in 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity weekly, and this should be spread out over at least three sessions. Also, there should be at least 2-3 sessions of resistance exercise, on nonconsecutive days. Are you reaching these goals?

If you are seeking to learn more about supplements, discuss with your physician. Many supplements will interact with medications used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Next page: Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, the complications of type 2 diabetes, and diabetes prognosis. 

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