Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes – a precursor to heart disease – often goes undiagnosed for many years because the mechanism that drives it – high blood sugar levels – takes time to unleash its destructive effects. High blood sugar levels are the result of pancreas not sufficiently producing enough insulin to regulate them. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause all-manner of complications.
Some of the most obvious signs of this destruction show up in the nerves.
Nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels is commonly referred to as diabetic neuropathy.
The term encompasses different types of nerve damage and the symptoms you experience are dictated by the nerves affected.
If you experience subtle changes in your hands, it can signal focal nerve damage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain: “Focal nerve damage affects single nerves, most often in your hand, head, torso, or leg.”
According to the CDC, numbness or tingling in your hands or fingers can be a telltale sign.
Weakness in your hand that may make you drop things may also signal nerve damage, the health body says.
“Make a note if you have any of these symptoms and share them with your doctor.”
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It is also important to flag symptoms of nerve damage up sooner rather than later.
Diabetic neuropathy can cause a number of serious complications, such as digestive problems, warns the Mayo Clinic.
“Diabetes-related nerve damage can lead to gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach empties too slowly or not at all, which causes bloating and indigestion,” warns the health body.
To keep the risks of blood sugar damage at bay, you must find ways to lower your blood sugar levels.
There are two key components to blood sugar control – diet and exercise.
In regards to the former, there is technically nothing you cannot eat, but you must limit your intake of certain items.
Carbohydrate foods are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose.
The glycaemic index (GI) can help you steer clear of the worst culprits.
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbohydrate foods that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
- Sugar and sugary foods
- sugary soft drinks
- white bread
- white rice.
Instead, opt for foods that have a low GI rating, such as some fruit and vegetables, pulses and whole grain foods, such as porridge oats.
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