Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body is producing insufficient insulin and/or it becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin. This results in high levels of glucose in your blood (blood sugar) which, over time, can damage your body.
The cause of type 2 diabetes is often (but not always) linked to lifestyle. If you have a family member with diabetes you are more likely to develop it yourself. However the risk of diabetes is greatly increased with lifestyle factors such as; being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, low physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where fat is carried around the waist.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are taking medication, your Health Care Professional may ask you to monitor your blood glucose levels. Being aware of your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level is an important part of managing your diabetes and keeping healthy. It will tell you how well your body is responding to medications, changes in diet and exercise.
The HbA1c test is a measure of an average blood glucose (average blood sugar) level over the past few months and can be used as an indicator of your diabetes control. Inside the body the glucose (sugar) sticks to part of the red blood cells called haemoglobin – haemoglobin is what gives blood cells their red colour.
This sugar-haemoglobin combination is called HbA1c. Once the glucose becomes ‘stuck’ to the red blood cell it stays stuck until the red blood cell dies. This takes about three months. As red blood cells die, new ones are produced. If the new red blood cells don’t end up with glucose stuck to them, because of better blood glucose control, then the overall HbA1c will decrease.
Smart software platforms and apps are a great way for you to immediately see your blood glucose or ketone results on your laptop or phone. They can help you track and monitor your levels through graphs, statistics and other software. You can share with family or your healthcare provider which may help with the overall management of your diabetes.
If you were diagnosed with diabetes some time ago, the daily checking of your blood glucose (blood sugar) and thinking about what to eat while still trying to manage life in general, may feel challenging. Or maybe you have been recently told you have diabetes and you are dealing with what seems like a whole different life that includes taking medication, seeing doctors and understanding terms you have never heard before. It all may feel overwhelming and a lot to deal with.
If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes the medical terms used to describe the condition may seem confusing and overwhelming.
Click on the link below to see a list of commonly used diabetes words and their meaning. This may help you better understand the information you are given, allowing you to have more effective conversations with your health care professional.