Dr Russ Blog - Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Created on 2/24/2012
J sent in a question about his wife who was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They are uncertain how she should eat to keep her blood sugar low.
Diabetes is a major health issue worldwide. Type 1 diabetes involves a lack of insulin, the compound that permits glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells where it can then be used for energy. This is treated by providing insulin to the body.
On the other hand, with type 2 diabetes there is generally enough insulin, but cells become resistant to it. Treatment involves appropriate weight management, fitness activities, stress management, and medications if necessary. But the centerpiece of care is diet.
I think it's wonderful that J has reached out to get help for his wife. It is easy to become overwhelmed after an initial medical diagnosis, including a diagnosis of diabetes. The good news is that help is close at hand, both through your doctor's office and the selective use of the Internet.
Almost all doctors will recommend that people with newly diagnosed diabetes should meet with a nutritionist, typically a diabetes educator. These experts can be invaluable to you and your family, turning what might initially seem like too much information into an understandable and reasonable way to eat, enjoy food and be healthy.
You might also look into the twin concepts of glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) - these give you an idea of foods that are easier for the body to handle without causing a significant rise in blood sugar, as well as those that when eaten might increase blood sugar levels in a big way.
You can learn more about GI and GL by reviewing my e-Letter on the subject here - http://www.harristeeter.com/yourwellness/e_letter/glycemic_index.aspx
To make things easy, most experts believe that by following a delicious and healthy Mediterranean diet, and being reasonable with portion sizes, the dietary aspect of managing type 2 diabetes can be achieved.
Of course, we really shouldn't speak about diet without mentioning exercise. Appropriate everyday fitness activities can go a long way towards controlling high blood sugar levels.
I applaud you for supporting your wife in this way, J. Managing health is a family endeavor and commitment. The best way to do it successfully is together.
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **
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