A Day in the Life of Type 2 Diabetes Lexi Lee

Background Information

Type 2 diabetes is basically a resistance to insulin. Those with type 2 diabetes will have high blood sugar and have a resistance to insulin. Insulin is created by your pancreas and released into the bloodstream. Normally, Insulin will bind to the insulin receptor on the cell membrane and send a signal to the cell that it needs a glucose transport protein. When we eat foods, glucose also enters our bloodstream. That glucose will enter the cell through the transport protein and provide us with energy. In someone who has type 2 diabetes, there is usually a problem with the insulin receptor and the signal to create a glucose transport protein is never sent, so the glucose cannot enter our cell to provide energy. Those with type 2 diabetes may experience increased thirst, unexpected weight loss and find themselves urinating more than often. Those with type two diabetes need to follow a strict diet to ensure that they stay healthy.

The Ideal Diet

Try to incorporate healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Incorporating lots of fiber in your diet helps a lot. Veggies should be the largest amount of food on your plate. Drink lots of water and avoid sugary drinks. When choosing snacks and meals, take into consideration how many carbs you are consuming. For meals, you should consume between 45-60 grams and 15-20 grams for snacks. Read nutrition labels when choosing snacks and pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates, sodium, sugars and fats. Avoid trans fat at all costs. Here is a list to help you make smart decisions:

- Carbohydrates: Whole grain wheat, non starchy vegetables (carrots. leafy greens, asparagus, etc.), fruit, fiber containing grains

- Fats: Avocados, Almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds

- Proteins: Fish, Turkey, Nuts, Greek Yogurt

Testing your blood sugar daily and A1C

Testing blood sugar is important to make sure that you are eating correctly and staying healthy. Normally, blood sugar is tested before meals and before going to bed. To test blood sugar, type 2 diabetics will need a lancet, test strips, and a glucometer. The finger is pricked using the lancet and then the blood is put on the test strip. The test strip is inserted into the glucometer and it gives you a reading of your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will tell you what range is healthy on an empty stomach and before and after meals. A1C is hemoglobin bound to a glucose molecule. hemoglobin helps transport oxygen through the blood. "Glucose in your bloodstream diffuses into red blood cells and attaches to hemoglobin", says Allison Karmel from The Diabetes Experience. Your A1C levels can indicate if someone has diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, an A1C of 6.5% or more indicates diabetes. Although this cannot tell you if it is type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This test can also be used by patients with diabetes already that are going to develop issues. This test can give you a long term view of your glucose levels as well. Diabetics should take the A1C test multiple times a year.


Lifestyle and exercise

Exercise is great way to regulate blood glucose and insulin. Activity makes cells sensitive to accepting insulin and making it work more effectively. exercise can range from dance, gardening, a beginners yoga class or even going on a walk. Of course being active as much as possible is great, but you don't have to become a body builder! Lifestyle choices will change once you begin to take care of your diabetes. Becoming more organized will help you take control of your diabetes! planning vacations and going to work will have a different schedule now, but knowing how to manage your time and put things in order will go a long way! Take time to write down checklists for things that you will need. Prioritize what needs to be put first and what things can wait. For example, taking care of your insulin intake is much more important than doing something with your friends.

Personal Story

This is the story of a man named Harry. His story is told through the American Heart Association...

"In the summer of 1994, I was driving a truck down a familiar road and suddenly my vision went blurry. Fortunately, I knew where I was going without reading the road signs, but as soon as I returned home, I called a friend who is a nurse about my concerns. She suggested that I see an eye doctor as soon as possible. After running some eye tests the eye doctor told me to see my family doctor because I might have type 2 diabetes. I was surprised by this because no one in my family had ever been diagnosed with diabetes. I did indeed have type 2 diabetes, and I also had high blood pressure and marginally high cholesterol. My doctor wanted me to start losing some weight, but I wasn't ready to make the lifestyle changes that would be necessary to not only lose the weight, but to keep it off for the rest of my life.

I took medication for a year, which helped maintain normal blood sugar and blood pressure. But the more I learned about the long-term effects and complications of my disease, the more I wanted to make more changes in my life. I started to make some small, but important, lifestyle changes, such as only ordering one cheeseburger instead of three. I also started to walk for ten minutes a day. Each week I increased my walking by one minute. A year later I was walking 60 minutes a day, seven days a week and lost 35 pounds. I wanted to lose more weight, so I joined a weight-loss group. Four years after my diagnosis, I reached my final weight-loss goal of 139 pounds. During this time, my type 2 diabetes and other conditions improved to the point that my family doctor was able to take me off all medications.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, my advice is to commit yourself to making gradual changes and putting a healthy, realistic plan together. Also, join a support group not only for the knowledge and long-term success the group may help you achieve, but also because the group offers emotional support to help you stay motivated and stick to positive lifestyle changes."


American Diabetes Association. Fitness. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Harry. Harry's Diabetes story. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/Diabetes/DiabetesToolsResources/Harrys-Diabetes-Story_UCM_315216_Article.jsp#.WEcaYbIrKM8

Karmel, Allison. Dear Diabetes: What is A1C. The Diabetes Experience. http://diabetes.sanofi.us/dear-diabetes-a1c/

Kaufman, Francine. Diabetes Lifestlye. DLife. http://www.dlife.com/diabetes/lifestyle

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