According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Over 30 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and 90% to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.” There are many ways to manage type 2 diabetes, and in some cases, these management plans can even reverse the disease itself.
The effects of chronically elevated blood sugar levels are too damaging to ignore; vision loss, kidney disease, and heart disease are just a few end-stage symptoms of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association also estimates that the average medical expenditure for people living with diabetes is around $14,000, which is around 2.3x higher than people who do not have diabetes. Here is a list of ways to manage type 2 diabetes.
Natural Ways to Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Before we delve into the realm of prescription medication and natural ways to treat type 2 diabetes, an understanding of what causes the disease can help shed some light into its treatment. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 generally develops in people aged 40 and older. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by insulin resistance, which is when a person does not respond in a normal manner to the pancreas-produced hormone insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar levels, so when a person stops responding to insulin, blood sugar levels become chronically elevated; the body can respond by producing more insulin for a while, but eventually the system will fail. There are a number of variables that can cause type 2 diabetes and its usually a combination of:
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a poor diet
- Having chronically elevated levels of inflammation in the body
- Living a sedentary lifestyle and not exercising
- Experiencing high amounts of stress
- Taking medications that can disrupt insulin production
- A history of heart disease or high blood pressure
- A hormonal condition (Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, etc.)
So how do we reduce or eliminate some of the above risk factors? Simple! Diet and exercise.
Diet for Type 2 Diabetes
There are foods that you should eliminate entirely from your diet if you have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic or with type 2 diabetes.
Eliminate these foods:
- Refined Sugars: this type of sugar rapidly spikes blood glucose. It can be found in soda, fruit juice, food products, honey, maple syrup, and salad dressings.
- Grains: Excessive consumption of grains can lead to chronic gut inflammation. Large amounts of grain/carbohydrates are converted to sugar inside the body, which can lead to large spikes in blood sugar. Try eating vegetables and fruit instead.
- Alcohol: alcohol can increase blood sugar levels and lead to liver toxicity. Many alcoholic beverages, such as beer and flavored drinks, also contain high amounts of carbs and sugars.
- Hydrogenated Oils: Avoid vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. These oils have been linked to numerous health concerns; these products are routinely treated with high heat, bleaching agents, and artificial dyes.
Add These Foods:
- High-fiber foods: foods that contain large amounts of fiber, such as vegetables and fruits, help regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Try adding broccoli, berries, nuts, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and other leafy green vegetables.
- Foods that contain magnesium: magnesium is associated with healthy blood sugar and glucose metabolism. Try adding foods such as chard, almonds, yogurts, black beans, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.
- Clean proteins: try adding chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, lentils, bone broth, and wild-caught fish. Protein has been shown to have a minimal effect of blood glucose levels. Protein can also slow down the absorption of sugar.
- Low glycemic load foods: These foods have a low impact on blood sugar levels, meaning they do not convert into sugar as fast as high glycemic foods. Foods in this list are nuts, seeds, coconut, organic meat, eggs, fish, non-starchy vegetables, and stone fruits and berries.
Many of these foods also promote weight loss, which can be the deciding factor in treating and reversing diabetes. Assuming you maintain a healthy diet, you can say goodbye to your type 2 diabetes medications forever.
Exercise for Type 2 Diabetes
There are too many benefits of regular exercise to list (but we’ll list some anyways); exercise reduces chronic inflammation, reduces body fat levels, improves muscle mass, balances blood glucose, reduces cholesterol levels, promotes heart health, and improves the overall quality of life. Since being overweight is the main cause of type 2 diabetes, exercise should be at the top of your priority list if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Any activity is better than no activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day! This can include yoga, weight training, walking, jogging, biking, hiking, Pilates, stretching, and anything in-between. The best exercise program is one that you can stick to and one that you can enjoy.
Prescription Medication for Type 2 Diabetes
Sometimes proper diet and exercise is not enough when it comes to the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Medications like Janumet, Januvia, and Metformin can help your body regulate blood sugar levels without the use of injectable insulin. Consult with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for your unique condition.
If you need help paying for Janumet, Januvia, or other diabetes medications, Rx Assistance Programs can help. We specialize in patient assistance programs, which help uninsured or under-insured Americans pay for their expensive pharmaceutical drugs.