Coordinated Health

You Can Prevent or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. Here’s What You Need to Know

By: Hannah Ropp   November 14, 2019

Type 2 Diabetes is a growing problem among the American population and worldwide. In fact, its estimated that roughly 27 million people have type 2 diabetes in the United States alone. The disease, which used to be known as adult onset Diabetes, is also affecting young adults and children in part because of childhood obesity. The good news is that in many cases, unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented through proper diet and exercise. But, it’s important to know the basics about type 2 diabetes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when your body does not use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that turns glucose (or sugar) from the food you consume into energy. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for this, but, over time your pancreas isn’t able to keep up and produce enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal and sugar builds up in your blood.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be easy to miss and include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent infections and frequent yeast infections.

In most cases type 2 diabetes is diagnosed through blood work or a urine test.

Know Your Risks

Some people have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than others.

  • Ethnicity It is more common among African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian American/Pacific Islanders as well as the aging population.
  • Increased BMI By having a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) that falls into the obesity range can increase your risk of developing diabetes. Aim to keep your BMI under 30.
  • Family History If you have a direct relative with Type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may have a higher risk of developing the disease yourself. Make sure your doctor knows about your family history.
  • Other health conditions Some health conditions have been linked with type 2 diabetes. Hypertension and other cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, gestational diabetes, and some autoimmune conditions can increase your risk.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, prevention is key. Even if you are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, making healthy lifestyle choices can help in preventing the disease.

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet Focus on eating a diet rick in fruits and vegetables and low in fat and calories. Be especially mindful of the amount of salt, trans fat and saturated fat you consume. Although it’s not always easy, cooking your own food at home with fresh ingredients will be healthier than convenience foods offered in fast food restaurants.
  • Get moving Staying moderately active will go a long way in reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day and avoid being sedentary for long periods of time. Being active doesn’t mean you have to run or be high level athlete, even walking at a brisk pace will get your heart rate up, which can manage your weight and reduce your blood pressure as well.
  • Keep an eye on your weight Excess body fat leave you more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes, especially if you have a lot of fat stored in your stomach. If you are overweight, losing just five to ten percent of your body weight can drastically reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle Make healthy lifestyle choices. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and avoid or quit smoking. Smokers are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes.
  • Look after your heart Since some cardiovascular conditions have been linked to type 2 diabetes it’s important to be mindful of issues like high blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Treating and Even Curing Type 2 Diabetes

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there are treatment options available. Although there is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes, you may be able to reverse the disease though diet changes and weight loss, which would eliminate the need for medication. However, type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness, which means that even if it’s considered in remission there’s always a chance it could come back. Read below for the most common treatment options.

  • Lifestyle changes Lifestyle changes are a key component to managing type 2 diabetes. It’s important to stay within your recommended BMI, eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. You and your doctor will find a treatment regimen that works best for you.
  • Medication When lifestyle changes aren’t enough to keep your blood sugar down, your physician may need to add in oral medications and insulin hormone that help the body use glucose for energy. There are a variety of medications and insulin available that can be tailored to your needs.

How an Endocrinologist Can Help

While some people depend on their family physician to manage their type 2 diabetes it is often beneficial to see an Endocrinologist. An Endocrinologist is a specialist who treats those with hormone imbalances from within the endocrine system, including thyroid disorders and diabetes. Many people who have trouble controlling their type 2 diabetes are often referred to an endocrinologist to have their medications reassessed. I work with my patients to manage their condition and often include a healthcare team made up of a nutritionist, a fitness trainer and their primary care physician.

There are many benefits to seeing an endocrinologist when you have diabetes. They can help you gain control over the disease so that you maintain your best health and develop a management plan that works for you.

Diep Nguyen, DO is an endocrinologist with Coordinated Health who specializes in the treatment of diabetes and thyroid disorders. Her philosophy is to empower her patients with knowledge so that they can control their condition. She is also a big believer of diabetes awareness.




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