Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not taken up by the cells – this is called insulin resistance. This malfunction poses serious health risks because insulin is charged with regulating blood sugar – the main type of sugar you get from food. Consistently high blood sugar levels can cause permanent harm damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you must find alternative means of boosting insulin production.
One simple tip is to get plenty of alpha-lipoic acid, or ALA, in your diet.
Alpha-lipoic acid, or ALA, is a vitamin-like compound and powerful antioxidant produced in your liver and found in some foods, such as spinach, broccoli and red meat.
According to research, ALA may improve insulin sensitivity and your cells’ uptake of sugar from your blood, though it may take a few months to experience these effects.
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It may also protect against oxidative damage caused by high blood sugar.
Oxidative damage is the result of oxidative stress – an imbalance of unstable atoms called free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Oxidative stress can be traced back to high blood sugar (glucose).
Furthermore, when people with type 2 diabetes took 300, 600, 900 or 1,200 mg of ALA alongside their usual diabetes treatment for six months, fasting blood sugar and A1C decreased more as the dose increased.
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A1C is your average blood glucose, or blood sugar, level over the past three months.
Evidence suggests the optimal dosage is generally 600–1,200 mg daily, taken in divided doses before meals.
General tips to lower blood sugar
A healthy diet and keeping active will help you manage your blood sugar level.
According to the NHS, there’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
- Eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta
- Keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals.
“If you need to change your diet, it might be easier to make small changes every week,” adds the NHS.
Regular exercise can also enhance insulin production.
According to Diabetes UK, there isn’t one type of activity that’s best for everyone with diabetes.
“It’s about finding what works for you and depends on lots of things, like what you enjoy, where you are and how much time you have,” explains the health body.
Type 2 diabetes – key symptoms
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising – this is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
“See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes,” advises the NHS.
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