Diabetes type 2 is a condition in which the body can’t control the amount of glucose in the blood. The body doesn’t respond to insulin (a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar) properly, resulting in blood glucose levels becoming too high.
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If the condition is left untreated, serious complications affecting the kidneys, nerves and feet can occur, as well as heart disease and stroke.
A person’s risk of developing diabetes type 2 can be increased by several things, such as being overweight or obese, having a close family member with the condition, not exercising regularly and smoking.
While it’s important to do things to reduce your risk of diabetes type 2, recognising when you might be at high risk of developing the condition is also vital.
Insulin resistance, the name given to the condition in which cells fail to respond normally to insulin, causes diabetes type 2, and a sign of insulin resistance to look out for is acanthosis nigricans.
Mayo Clinic explains: “Most people who have acanthosis nigricans have also become resistant to insulin.”
The skin condition is characterised by areas of dark, velvety discolouration in body folds and creases.
The clinic adds: “The affected skin can become thickened.
“Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin and neck.
“The skin changes of acanthosis nigricans typically occur in people who are obese or have diabetes.
“Children who develop the condition are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“Rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumour in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver.”
The skin changes associated with acanthosis nigricans usually appear slowly, and the affected skin may also have an odour or itch.
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Acanthosis nigricans has also been associated with hormonal disorders, such as ovarian cysts and underactive thyroids, and certain drugs and supplements including birth control pills.
How to reduce your risk of diabetes type 2
A healthy diet and keeping active will help you manage your blood sugar level, advises the NHS.
It will also help you control your weight and help you generally feel better.
When it comes to a healthy diet, the health body says there’s nothing you cannot eat, but certain foods should be limited.
It states: “You should eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta.
“Keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals.”
Physical exercise can also help lower blood sugar levels, and people should aim to do 2.5 hours of activity a week.
The health body says: “You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath. This could be fast walking, climbing stairs, and doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”
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