Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes symptoms are often subtle at first and do not necessarily make you feel ill. However, if blood sugar levels are not controlled – the main threat posed by diabetes – they can unleash a wave of destruction on the body. The feet are an obvious site of this destruction.
High blood sugar levels can damage nerves throughout the body, a process known as diabetic neuropathy.
Nerves are responsible for transmitting information from the sensory organs, such as pain.
The nerves in the feet are particularly sensitive and can therefore provide a reliable indicator that something is up.
“It’s important that those of us with diabetes regularly check our feet as nerve damage and reduced circulation, caused by diabetes, can mean having reduced awareness of pain (neuropathy) and slower healing,” says Diabetes.co.uk.
As the health body explains, checking your feet is an important way to reduce the chances of developing a serious foot problem.
You should look out for any general signs of damage that can include:
- Missing skin.
How to respond
According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic neuropathy is a serious diabetes complication that may affect as many as 50 percent of people with diabetes.
“But you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with consistent blood sugar management and a healthy lifestyle,” notes the health body.
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The dietary decisions you make can have a profound impact on blood sugar levels.
According to Diabetes UK, all carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels so it’s important to know which foods contain carbs.
“Choose the healthier foods that contain carbs and be aware of your portion sizes,” advises the health body.
Here are some healthy sources of carbohydrate:
- Whole grains like brown rice, buckwheat and whole oats
- Pulses such as chickpeas, beans and lentils
- Dairy like unsweetened yoghurt and milk.
“At the same time, it’s also important to cut down on foods low in fibre such as white bread, white rice and highly-processed cereals,” adds Diabetes UK.
As it points out, you can check food labels when you’re looking for foods high in fibre if you’re unsure.
Another key component to blood sugar management is engaging in regular physical activity.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “Exercise draws on reserve sugar stored in your muscles and liver.
“As your body rebuilds these stores, it takes sugar from your blood. The more strenuous your workout, the longer your blood sugar will be affected.”
“You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week,” advises the NHS.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath.”
This could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening.
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