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    Diabetes
    1234 · 20 min read

    Type 2 Diabetes Treatment & Testing: A Beginner's Guide

    Living with type 2 diabetes can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and understanding, it's possible to manage your condition effectively. In this comprehensive beginner's guide, we will aim to shed some light on type 2 diabetes, exploring its definition, symptoms, and the importance of early detection. We will also explain the role of insulin and blood sugar in the body, providing essential insights into the mechanisms that underpin this chronic condition. 

    What is diabetes?

    Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by high blood sugar levels. It occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin enables cells to absorb sugar (also known as glucose) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy. When the body's insulin function is impaired, glucose builds up in the blood which leads to high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia.

    What is type 2 diabetes?

    Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder caused by high levels of glucose in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as poor diet, obesity, and genetics. If left untreated or poorly managed, it can lead to various health complications, including heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision problems. With appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes, people who have type 2 diabetes can effectively control their blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.

    What causes type 2 diabetes?

    Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While the exact cause is not fully understood, several factors contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, including:

    • Genetics:  Having a family history of diabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    • Insulin Resistance: The body's cells may become resistant to the effects of insulin, preventing glucose from entering the cells effectively.

    • Obesity: Excess body weight, particularly around the abdomen, increases the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. 

    • Poor Diet: Consuming a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages, unhealthy fats, and processed foods can contribute to obesity and insulin resistance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    • Age: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after the age of 45. 

    What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

    The symptoms of type 2 diabetes will vary from person to person, and some may not experience any symptoms in the early stages. However, the most common symptoms to watch out for include:

    Increased thirst or urinationThe kidneys work harder to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream, leading to increased urine production.
    FatigueThe body's inability to effectively utilise glucose for energy can leave you feeling drained.
    Unexplained weight loss or gainSudden weight loss can occur in some cases. Weight gain may also be a symptom due to the body's inability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar.
    Blurry visionHigh blood sugar levels can affect the lens of the eye, causing blurred vision or other vision problems.
    Slow wound healingType 2 diabetes can impair the body's ability to heal wounds, leading to slower healing times.
    Numbness or tinglingProlonged high blood sugar levels can damage nerves, leading to a condition called diabetic neuropathy.

    Can high cholesterol affect type 2 diabetics?

    Yes, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol can have a significant impact on each other. Type 2 diabetes can contribute to an imbalance in fat metabolism, leading to an increased risk of developing high cholesterol levels. On the other hand, high cholesterol levels can further complicate the management of type 2 diabetes and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications.

    Can type 2 diabetes affect your cholesterol?

    Yes, type 2 diabetes can affect your cholesterol levels. The interplay between type 2 diabetes and cholesterol is complex. Managing cholesterol levels is essential for individuals with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications. Lifestyle modifications such as adopting a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats, increasing physical activity, and weight management are crucial for improving cholesterol levels.  

    What lifestyle factors can contribute to type 2 diabetes?

    Several lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. While genetics and other non-modifiable factors play a role, making healthy choices regarding the following aspects of one's lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some factors that can contribute towards type 2 diabetes include diet, sedentary lifestyle choices, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption.

    Is type 2 diabetes a lifelong condition?

    Yes, type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition. Unlike some other types of diabetes that may be temporary or reversible, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that typically persists throughout a person's lifetime. While type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition, it can be managed effectively through various treatment approaches.

    What age does type 2 diabetes typically develop?

    Type 2 diabetes typically develops in adulthood, although it can occur at any age. Historically, type 2 diabetes was commonly diagnosed in middle-aged and older individuals. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of younger people, including adolescents and children, being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

    Does type 2 diabetes get worse over time?

    Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition, and if left unmanaged, it can indeed worsen over time. However, the progression and severity of the disease can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience a relatively stable course of diabetes, while others may see a gradual decline in their ability to control blood sugar levels.

    How does type 2 diabetes affect the body?

    Type 2 diabetes can have a number of effects on the body. Some of the symptoms that type 2 diabetes causes includes excessive thirst, tiredness, and the feeling of needing to urinate. Long term, the condition can cause damage to blood vessels that can lead to heart attacks or strokes in some people. 

    Can type 2 diabetes be cured?

    No, there is currently no known ‘cure’ for type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown however that the condition can be reversed. This is achievable by making changes to your diet and exercise plans to promote weight loss, which can see blood sugar levels return to healthy levels.

    Can type 2 diabetes be managed with medication?

    Yes, type 2 diabetes can be managed by using medication. When you have type 2 diabetes it is often recommended that you use some form of medication to help manage your condition. These medications help you to live a healthy life despite having type 2 diabetes. A common medication to treat type 2 diabetes is Metformin.

    How does Metformin treat type 2 diabetes?

    Metformin is a medication that is used to help treat type 2 diabetes. It helps to reduce blood sugar levels. It does this by restoring the body's natural response to insulin, decreasing the amount of blood sugar that is produced and the amount that is absorbed by the intestines and the stomach. 

    What lifestyle choices can help to improve type 2 diabetes?

    As mentioned, it is possible to reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes. To do this, you may need to make a number of lifestyle changes. Changes to diet and exercise regime can help people to lose weight and lower blood sugar levels. You may also wish to change factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption to promote a healthy lifestyle.

    How do I start treatment for type 2 diabetes?

    Once you have had a test that confirms you have type 2 diabetes you may be thinking about starting treatment to ensure your blood sugar levels are managed. Speak to your healthcare provider for advice on how you can start treatment. Alternatively, you can browse diabetes medications online from UK Meds.

    Do I need a prescription for type 2 diabetes medication?

    Yes, for the most part you will need to have a prescription in order to purchase type 2 diabetes medications. This can be obtained from your healthcare provider, or from an online source such as UK Meds. 

    Which diabetes medications are available at UK Meds?

    As mentioned, you can purchase a number of different diabetes medications from UK Meds, including:

    How can I test myself for type 2 diabetes?

    So how can you test whether or not you have type 2 diabetes? Thankfully, you can use at home tests that can help to determine whether or not you may have the condition. 

    Which diabetes tests are available at UK Meds?

    There are a number of different diabetes tests that you can purchase online from UK Meds, including:

    What is insulin?

    If you are researching about, or if you have type 2 diabetes, you will have heard the word insulin used many times. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Its role is to help your body use glucose to produce energy. Insulin deficiency can cause type 1 or type 2 diabetes. 

    How does insulin react with sugar that is consumed?

    Insulin is continually released into the bloodstream by the pancreas. Insulin is also released when you eat food, and small amounts are released when you see or smell food. As you eat, sugar levels rise which promotes a response of insulin. Insulin that is released helps to turn glucose (sugar) into energy.

    What are carbohydrates/sugar?

    Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, are a form of sugar molecule. When you consume carbohydrates your body will break them down into glucose. Glucose is the main energy source for the organs, tissue and cells of the body. 

    What are simple carbohydrates (simple sugars)?

    Simple carbohydrates are a form of carbohydrate that is broken down very quickly by the body so that they can be used as energy. Some examples of simple carbohydrates include fruit and milk.  

    What are complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides)?

    Complex carbohydrates, which are also known as polysaccharides, are starches that are formed by longer saccharide chains. This means they take longer to break down than simple carbohydrates. Chemically, they usually consist of three or more linked sugars.

    How is sugar broken down in the body?

    After you have eaten, starches and sugars are broken down both through chewing and chemically. They are split into forms known as glucose, fructose, and/or galactose. These are absorbed into the bloodstream and transported for use as energy throughout the body.

    Medically Reviewed by:
    Dr. Alexis Missick MBChB. MRCGP
    GMC reference no: 7151419
    LinkedIn
    Website

    Sources

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    Related Products

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    Blog author

    Scott Weaver

    Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.

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