What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Individuals are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when their blood glucose, AKA blood sugar, is higher than normal. Blood glucose is an important source of energy and heavily affects how one’s body fuels on a daily basis. Being diagnosed with this chronic disease means that one’s body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly known as the adult form of diabetes, but some children are diagnosed with type 2 as well. Getting a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming and depressing because there is no cure for it. However, with a support system, fitness and exercise, healthy diet, medications or insulin therapy, one can easily combat or reverse the obstacles of diabetes.
Having a support system of family members and friends is extremely important for every stage of a diabetic’s journey. A healthy coping mechanism is a crucial component to help a newly diagnosed individual with diabetes. One does not have to go through this difficult journey alone, having a support system of loved ones will be immensely beneficial to diabetic patients.
Even though the support from friends and family members is irreplaceable, it is helpful for diabetics to receive support from others with similar experiences as them. There are many local communities and support groups to join and be active in. However, with COVID-19 and social distancing measures in effect, this community support has been transitioned online. An app named DMP (Diabetes Management Platform) was launched recently in order to provide an online community for diabetics to foster new connections, find support, and access relevant professional information.
Fitness and Exercise
Sticking to a routine of regular exercise will help lower a type 2 diabetic’s blood glucose level. It doesn’t have to be too intense, aim to complete around 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise and two to three times of resistance exercises per week. For example, designate Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 50 minutes of jogging and use Tuesday and Thursday for weight lifting (take a break on weekends, you deserve it!)
If one is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, maintaining a fitness routine can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes through lowering one’s blood glucose. There are a number of fitness blogs tailored towards diabetes that provide tips and information on how to effectively manage diabetes through exercising.
Looking at the food options might be the most frustrating element that a newly diagnosed diabetic has to deal with due to the dietary restrictions. Type 2 diabetics often worry that being diagnosed with diabetes means that they will no longer be able to enjoy their favorite foods. However, diabetics can still enjoy most foods, but they just have to control the portions and consume them less frequently.
Type 2 diabetics should make sure to include a variety of healthy foods from all food groups.
- Non Starchy: Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Tomatoes
- Starchy: Corn, Peas, Potatoes, Lentils
- Avocados, Plums, Pears, Apples, Grapes, Bananas
- Grains – Make sure that half of the daily grain intake are whole grains
- Quinoa, Rice, Oats, Tortillas, Bread
- Lean meat – Skinless chicken or turkey
- Nuts and peanuts
- Meat substitutes, such as tofu
- Milk or milk-alternatives if you have lactose intolerance
- Cheese – safe in moderation
A number of blogs and social media groups (such as Facebook groups), and Instagram influencers provide reliable and professional information for diabetics to learn how to manage their conditions. The previously mentioned community app, DMP, also hosts live streams featuring licensed dietitians, medical researchers, and fitness experts to discuss diabetes management. With increasing resources being available online, type 2 diabetics can effortlessly receive support and navigate their through journey!