Type 2 diabetes is officially diagnosed when fasting blood sugar (after not eating all night) hits 126 and A1c (blood sugar stuck to red blood cells) measures at or above 6.5. This is not a condition achieved over night.
Think about body temperature when sick. The sickness might be a bacteria, virus, or some sort of accidental body damage. Temperature measures normal, then starts to rise as the sickness takes hold, reflecting the immune system in action. A mild temperature might not even be noticed.
At a certain point, however, the temperature can become highly noticeable, “too high”, a problem all of its own that can cause major damage to body organs. This is a by-product of the immune response, not the cause of the illness. In a crisis we treat the temperature directly with medication. Other treatment might be appropriate and required to help the immune system deal with the sickness or infection itself.
If we just keep hammering on the temperature (or the headache or any other symptom) without regard for the cause, the condition only worsens and, further, there are side effects of the perpetual application of a hammer.
This is similar to diabetes. The symptom is blood sugar that has risen over time until it is noticeable in a lab test. Then we have a habit of hammering on the symptom, taking something to make the number(s) go down. Not fixing the cause, just trying to mask the symptom.
Which doesn’t actually work because all that sugar can’t just disappear, it has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is in your body fat.
The liver, pancreas, and fat cells (not to speak of the brain) are working together as a team to maintain a stable state of blood sugar. The pancreas releases insulin to reduce blood sugar and store any excess in fat cells. The liver makes and releases glucose to increase blood sugar when necessary. It’s a rock solid system until you overwhelm it.
Too many energy calories in glucose (sugar) and fat are the “overwhelmers” of the system.
In the Beginning
In the beginning the first clue that blood sugar is increasing is high insulin which disguises the blood sugar increase. So if you test your blood sugar it looks just fine. If you measured the insulin you would know. Insulin is easily but rarely measured in a blood test.
The next clue is steadily increasing body fat. All that insulin is steadily packing away the excess energy.
Failure to attend to the increasing insulin and body fat ultimately becomes chronic excess blood sugar and insulin, both of which damage body organs, blood vessels, eyes, nerves, etc. In the meantime the liver continues converting the excess glucose into fat and sending it to the fat cells long with any dietary fat that went unused.
Unfortunately we each have a unique fat threshold, just so much room in the inn. Once you max out fat storage, nothing more can be stored and the fat that is already there starts to overflow into the blood. It isn’t fair but the space in your fat cells can be entirely different than that of your spouse or your best friend.
Caught early, diet changes will reduce body fat and bring the system back in line with relative ease. NOT caught early, the seemingly simple processess performed by the “team” above get all messed up.
NOW you are diagnosed diabetic
The pancreas stops making enough insulin. The liver releases glucose at the wrong time or in inappropriate amounts, sometimes resulting in screamingly high blood sugar. Insulin treatment will treat blood sugar but also works diligently to store the energy in fat cells.
The fat cells can’t take up any more fat which forces fat to be stored in and around the liver and other organs, Just like sugar, fat can’t just disappear. It has to go somewhere.
Thus we have a damage combination that can causes blindness, neuropathy, amputations, high triglycerides, fatty liver disease. There is a lot more here to treat than blood sugar alone.
There is only one answer. Lose the excess fat, only possible by reducing calories. What food has the most calories? Food combinations including flour, sugar, and fat. And if you are seriously diabetic, other starches like potatoes and beans may also need to be reduced.
Again, a diagnosed type 2 diabetic who is also on diabetes medication should be sure to keep their doctor informed about diet changes. Failure to adjust medication can result in low blood sugar (which is also bad). The important point is this. Don’t believe that medication will “cure” your diabetes. Management of body fat through diet is the answer.
And if you aren’t already a diabetic, don’t go there.