Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. In type 2 diabetes, the most common form, the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
:Several factors contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes:
• Insulin resistance: The body's cells become resistant to the action of insulin, leading to higher blood sugar levels.
• Genetic factors: A family history of diabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
• Lifestyle factors: Poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and lack of physical activity contribute to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
• Age and ethnicity: Advancing age and certain ethnicities, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
• Frequent urination
• Excessive thirst
• Fatigue and weakness
• Blurred vision
• Slow wound healing
• Recurring infections
• Unexplained weight loss (in some cases)
If left untreated or poorly managed, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, including:
• Cardiovascular diseases: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
• Kidney damage: Diabetes can cause kidney damage, leading to reduced kidney function or even kidney failure.
• Nerve damage: Elevated blood sugar levels can damage nerves, resulting in peripheral neuropathy, affecting sensation and causing pain.
• Eye problems: Diabetes increases the risk of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.
• Foot complications: Poor circulation and nerve damage can lead to foot ulcers and infections, sometimes requiring amputation.
The treatment of type 2 diabetes typically involves a multifaceted approach, which may include:
• Lifestyle modifications: Adopting a healthy diet, regular physical activity, weight management, and smoking cessation.
• Medication: Oral medications or insulin injections may be prescribed to control blood sugar levels.
•Blood sugar monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels helps in managing diabetes effectively.
• Education and support: Diabetes education programs, support groups, and self-management strategies are essential for long-term management.
Exercise plays a crucial role in the management of type 2 diabetes. It offers several benefits, including:
• Improved insulin sensitivity: Physical activity helps the body utilize insulin more effectively, reducing insulin resistance.
• Blood sugar control: Regular exercise can lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control.
• Weight management: Physical activity aids in weight loss or weight maintenance, which is beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
• Cardiovascular health: Exercise promotes heart health, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and helps manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
• Stress reduction: Physical activity can alleviate stress and improve mental well-being.
Before starting any exercise program, it is essential to consult with an Exercise Physiologist or healthcare professional. Suitable exercises for individuals with type 2 diabetes may include:
• Aerobic exercises: Brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, and aerobic classes improve cardiovascular fitness and blood sugar control.
• Strength training: Resistance exercises using weights or resistance bands help build muscle strength, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance overall body composition.
• Flexibility exercises: Stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates enhance flexibility, joint mobility, and relaxation.
• Balance and stability exercises: Activities like tai chi or specific balance exercises can help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.