Type 2 diabetes is best described as a “silent assassin” because you can live with it for many years without symptoms. The condition creeps up on you and can trigger serious complications, however. That’s because the mechanisms involved can cause extensive damage to the body.
How? Type 2 diabetes signals that either your pancreas does not produce not produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not processed by the cells.
Blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood – nourishes the cells with energy and nutrients.
However, having high blood sugar levels in your body can damage blood vessels that supply vital organs.
Without an adequate supply of insulin, a person with diabetes is vulnerable to high blood sugar levels and its associated effects.
READ MORE: ‘Added sugars’ can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes – how to avoid them
Luckily, there are a number of warning signs that appear before you lapse into a diabetic coma so acting on them can help to avert the serious complication.
According to Mayo Clinic, one telltale sign is fruity breath odour.
Other signs include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
- A very dry mouth
- A rapid heartbeat.
How to respond
If you notice any of the above warning signs associated with high blood sugar levels, it is imperative that you take steps to lower your blood sugar levels.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels, thereby staving off the risk of triggering a diabetic coma.
The GI index is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
- Some fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
According to the NHS, you should also exercise more often – gentle, regular exercise such as walking can often lower your blood sugar level, particularly if it helps you lose weight.