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HomeBlogType 2 Diabetes: Why junking fast food is the right recipe

Type 2 Diabetes: Why junking fast food is the right recipe

By: Medix Team
Type 2 Diabetes: Why junking fast food is the right recipe

What are the small indicators of this growing but frequently undiagnosed illness and what can you do to combat it?

In ancient India, Ayurvedic healers tested for diabetes by asking patients to urinate on the ground then watched to see if ants were attracted to it. If they were, they called the illness Madhumeha, or honey urine.


It’s an apt name for a disease characterised by elevated blood sugar levels. In the intervening centuries, physicians have changed their diagnostic tools to lab-based blood and urine tests.


Patients have also changed their lifestyle habits too, for the worse. The sad fact is that Type 2 Diabetes is a more preventable illness compared to Type 1, although genetics can pre-dispose some individuals to both. It’s also one that plagues countries as they move up the income scale and adopt poor eating, working and fitness habits.


The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) calculates that global diabetes levels have soared from 151 million sufferers in 2000 to 463 million in 2019. About 90% have Type 2 Diabetes and the epicentre is Asia.


China and India are the most afflicted countries in terms of overall cases. But they are beaten by Malaysia when it comes to prevalence: 18.3% of adults compared to 10.4% in India and 11.2% in China.


One of the biggest problems is that half of all sufferers do not realise they have a chronic condition, which can lead to an array of life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke if it’s left untreated. Yet Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented, or reversed by making often very simple lifestyle changes.


But first it’s important to understand how it develops. When we eat food, our pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which helps to move sugar from the bloodstream into cells where it’s metabolised as an energy source.


Problems arise when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, or our bodies cannot utilise it properly. This causes a build up of sugar levels in the blood: hyperglycemia.


Here’s a checklist of warning signs to look out for, plus a few tips to prevent a trip to the doctor in the first place. Also consider investing in a blood sugar monitor so you can regularly check your own levels.


1. Obesity.  This is one of the biggest risk factors of all because abdominal fat cells release pro-inflammatory chemicals, which make the body less sensitive to insulin. South Asian and Chinese ethnicities also have a much higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes at a lower body weight and at an earlier age than Caucasians.


The answer is to lose weight and ditch the fast food counter, no matter how busy you are, in favour of meals with fresh, unprocessed ingredients that are low in saturated fat, high in fibre and release energy slowly. Recent studies show that large helpings of polished white rice (more than 450 grams per day) significantly elevate risk levels


2. Fatigue.  Imbalanced insulin levels mean that cells don’t get the energy they need. Regular exercise helps insulin to work better. It also aids weight loss and improves energy levels.


3. Increased thirst and urination. The kidneys go into overdrive trying to clear out excess glucose and can eventually become irreversibly damaged. A dry mouth even after drinking, or cracked skin especially on the feet, both signal dehydration.


4. Eye problems. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to swollen retinas and blurred vision. Regular eye check ups are essential because opticians can detect warning signs well before they become physically evident. 


5. Skin conditions. There are a whole host. High blood sugar encourages yeast growth particular around the genital area, causing itching. It also slows blood circulation so wounds heal more slowly.


6. High blood pressure. It’s circular. Having hypertension appears to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes and having Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of hypertension. Having one or both conditions also increases the risk of various complications including heart attacks or strokes. 

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