Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby your pancreas stops producing enough insulin or your body becomes resistant to the hormone. Insulin regulates blood sugar, the main sugar that is found in your blood and is also absorbed by eating food. The breakdown presents a real threat when high blood sugar levels start interfering with your bodily functions.
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Unfortunately, this process is gradual and often goes undetected until high blood sugar levels start inflicting serious damage on the blood vessels that supply vital organs.
When this happens, you may experience a slew of unsettling symptoms.
As the Mayo Clinic explains, over time, poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to blood vessel clusters in your kidneys that filter waste from your blood.
Severe damage to these blood vessels can lead to diabetic nephropathy, a general term for the deterioration of proper functioning in the kidneys.
According to Diabetes.co.uk, the symptoms of diabetic nephropathy tend to become apparent once the condition has reached the later stages.
When this happens, you may notice your urine has become darker – this is caused by blood in the urine, explains the health site.
Other warning signs include:
- Swelling of the ankles, feet, lower legs or hands caused by retention of water
- Becoming short of breath, when climbing the stairs for instance
- Tiredness as a result of a lack of oxygen in the blood
- Nausea or vomiting
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According to the Mayo Clinic, the first step in treating diabetic nephropathy is to treat and control your diabetes and, if needed, high blood pressure (hypertension).
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One of the most important strategies for controlling diabetes is to lower your blood sugar levels.
First and foremost, this means overhauling your diet to shun items that will cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
A convincing body of evidence shows that foods high in carbohydrates are one of the worst offenders for blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrate is broken down into blood sugar relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.
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Carbohydrates also encourage weight gain – another obstacle to diabetes management.
As Diabetes.co.uk explains, excessive fat stored in the liver and pancreas causes insulin resistance to develop.
Emphasising the point, many studies also show that a low-carb diet helps reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes.
What constitutes a “low-carb” diet?
“Generally, low-carb eating is when you reduce the total amount of carbs you consume in a day to less than 130g,” explains Diabetes UK.
Low-carb foods include meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and natural fats, like butter.
The other important step to stabilising blood sugar levels is to exercise more regularly.
According to the NHS, you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” it says.
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