Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is the result of dysfunction in the way the body processes the hormone insulin. Insulin has many important roles but high up on the list is regulating blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Poor insulin production gives rise to unregulated blood sugar levels, which in turn can cause a wave of destruction.
Hammer toes are a telltale sign of blood sugar damage.
“Hammer toe and mallet toe are conditions whereby the toes become bent into unusual shapes with the toes pointing downwards,” explains Diabetes.co.uk.
According to the health body, hammer toe and mallet toe may be caused by toes being pressed against the end of shoes or if muscles and tendons in the toe become shorter and tighter.
Poor blood sugar control can cause the muscles to contract and the tendons to become shorter.
“Your doctor or podiatrist can recommend the best treatment to solve the problem or to help relieve pain or discomfort,” advises Diabetes.co.uk.
Other telltale signs of blood sugar damage include:
- Increased thirst and a dry mouth
- Needing to pee frequently
- Blurred vision
- Unintentional weight loss
- Recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis) and skin infections
- Tummy pain
- Feeling or being sick
- Breath that smells fruity.
How to respond
According to the NHS, you should 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.
“You’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery,” explains the health body.
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What happens next
Following a formal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, you’ll usually be required to make lifestyle changes to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, a healthy eating plan for you is not that different from a healthy eating plan for people without diabetes.
However, as Harvard Health points out, “you’ll want to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake.”
That’s because carbohydrates are broken down into glucose faster than fat or protein, which can cause spikes in blood sugar.
“Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrition per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be rich in fibre,” explains Harvard Health.
To help you steer clear of the worst carbs for blood sugar management, you should refer to the glycaemic index (GI).
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.
It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbs that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
They include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
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