With diabetes being the 7th cause of death in the United States, receiving this diagnosis can be a shock to your system, and in more ways than one. Diabetes has been shown to drastically increase the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and arteries’ narrowing (atherosclerosis). When left untreated, it can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening concerns and is not something you want to ignore. However, there are three types of diabetes and each requires a unique approach and treatment plan. Of the 34 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, 90-95% of them have type 2, which studies have shown has the ability to be reversed. What might surprise you the most is that, unlike other treatment plans, reversing type 2 diabetes doesn’t require a total transformation. Instead, a few simple adjustments in your diet and lifestyle can drastically improve your overall health and wellness, and one that is so powerful that it can eradicate type 2 diabetes from your life.
The 101 on Type 2 Diabetes
The first step to reversing type 2 diabetes is understanding exactly what it is that you’re dealing with. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational. 90-95% of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2, 5% have type 1 and the remainder have gestational. Each type is completely different from the others and the same treatment for one will not have the same effects on the others, as each type has a variety of unique factors, risks, causes and viable treatments.
With that said, type 2 diabetes, by definition, is a medical condition where there is an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses glucose (sugar) for fuel. As a result, the glucose often builds up in the bloodstream, causing high blood sugar levels, which can eventually lead to disorders in the nervous, immune and circulatory systems. Now typically, in someone who isn’t diabetic, insulin would be used to move the sugar from your blood to your cells for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your cells aren’t able to respond to insulin in the way that they should, which causes that build-up.
To give you some perspective as to how this is different from the other types of diabetes; type 1 is where the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin and gestational is a type of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy that causes your blood sugar to be too high. However, the one similarity between type 1 and type 2 diabetes that is worth paying attention to is that, prolonged type 2 diabetes can also result in the body not producing enough insulin as well.
Contrary to popular belief, both types of diabetes can be developed at any age.
Type 2 Diabetes Causes
Now that you have the basic knowledge of what type 2 diabetes is, the next step is to understand the potential factors that can cause or contribute to the development of it. Type 2 diabetes is primarily the result of two problems:
- The cells in the liver, muscle and fat become resistant to insulin
- The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to manage the blood sugar levels
Both of these problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle factors, genetics and family history.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
While diet and lifestyle play a large part in the development and severity of Type 2 diabetes symptoms, type 2 diabetes is believed to have a strong genetic link. This means that you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if it runs in your family. There have also been several genes linked to type 2 diabetes.
But even if there isn’t a genetic link, you may still be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some additional factors that put you at risk are your age (over 45), weight, race and ethnicity (African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites).
You may want to ask your doctor for a diabetes test if you have any of the risk factors mentioned previously or below:
- High blood triglyceride levels
- Low ‘good’ cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Prediabetes (blood sugar levels are above normal, but you don’t have diabetes yet)
- Heart disease
- High fat and carb diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Age (over 45)
- Race and ethnicity
- Fat distribution
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
Most importantly, type 2 diabetes is preventable and research has confirmed that it can be reversed as well. To prevent type 2 diabetes, it’s important to stay healthy by eating a proper diet and getting in regular exercise for a minimum of 20-30 minutes for most days of the week. Type 2 diabetes can also be managed and even reversed by following a similar regime that focuses on regular exercise and weight loss (diet).
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
The tricky thing with type 2 diabetes is that it can develop slowly and can even go unnoticed for quite some time. However, it is imperative to be aware of the early warning signs and potential symptoms so you can get the treatment needed as quickly as possible. This is key since diabetes is the main cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure and other conditions. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to this disease.
Early warning signs can appear mild at first, making them easy to dismiss or overlook. Some of the early warning signs of type 2 diabetes to look for are:
- Blurry vision
- Constant hunger
- Lack of energy
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Pain or numbness in hands and feet7
Now, if you have high blood sugar levels, the symptoms can appear as any of the ones mentioned above, or they can be more severe, including:
Risks of Untreated Type 2 Diabetes
As mentioned throughout this article, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your health. Untreated type 2 diabetes can lead to many serious and even life-threatening problems. It has been known to drastically increase your risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and arteries narrowing. Chronically high blood sugar levels can also lead to:
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Increased risk for heart disease and stroke
- Nerve damage
Keep in mind, diabetes is the main cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure and many other conditions, and untreated or uncontrolled diabetes can be detrimental to your health.
Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes
The most important thing to know about type 2 diabetes is that research has confirmed that it can be easily managed and even reversed. The two most common forms of treatment for type 2 diabetes are:
- Prescription medication (metformin, sulfonylureas, glitazones, etc.)
- Natural treatments (diet, lifestyle, mindset, etc.)
There are several options that fall under each category, providing you with a long list of potential solutions to choose from. Prescription medication is often the first method used by conventional doctors. They can be an effective way to manage your condition and lessen your symptoms. However, the problem with many prescription medications is that they aren’t designed to get to and health the main driving factors causing your type 2 diabetes. As such, they’re great for managing your condition but they don’t fix it.
Natural treatment regimes are different, where they aim to get to the root to fix the problem at the source to eliminate symptoms and keep your diabetes-free. These types of solutions often involve making some changes to your diet, lifestyle and mindset. Often times, with this approach, you only need to make a few simple changes to see the positive effects.
Tips for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
To begin healing your type 2 diabetes naturally, you’ll want to start focusing on improving your diet, stress levels and physical activity. Making some simple changes that address these three factors can drastically improve your condition and overall health and wellness. And hey, since it’s natural, you don’t have to worry about any potential side effects, which are common with conventional medications and treatments.
Here are some helpful tips for managing and reversing type 2 diabetes:
- Eliminate refined sugar, grains, cow’s milk, GMO foods, alcohol and hydrogenated oils from your diet (or minimize them as much as possible)
- Aim to eat a diet that is clean, raw, organic and natural (avoid processed, packaged or frozen foods)
- Eat more foods that are high in fiber, chromium, magnesium, and lean protein and that have a low glycemic load
- Stay hydrated (Drink 6-8 cups of water a day)
- Avoid sugary drinks
- Get a minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity in each day or most days of the week
- Use natural supplements that are beneficial for type 2 diabetics, such as fish oil, alpha lipoid acid, and bitter melon extract
- Limit exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals
- Manage stress levels with mindful activities and meditation
You made the mistake of using Dr. Google to search your symptoms and now you are worried that you have type 2 diabetes. With the information gained from this article, you should have a better understanding of the causes, potential risks, symptoms and treatment options available for type 2 diabetes. And remember, as scary and serious as type 2 diabetes is, it is proven to be reversible. Aim to keep your diet clean, your activity levels high and your stress level low, and you’ll be well on your way to living well and even possibly diabetes-free.
Lastly, there are comprehensive guides that touch on the subject. One of our recommendations is the Diabetes Freedom program.