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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Ignatius Ooi Yong Chin and Dr Angelica L Dumapit on September 6, 2022

3 Important Tips To Help You Manage Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Managing type 2 diabetes symptoms is easier than you think. These lifestyle modifications can be done daily to help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce complications.

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Type 2 diabetes symptoms occur due to imbalanced insulin levels. This can leave you feeling hungry or thirsty, lightheaded, moody, dehydrated, and unable to sleep.

Luckily, there are three important things you can do at home to help manage these symptoms and improve your quality of life.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to identify type 2 diabetes symptoms from both a Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) viewpoint. Then, read on to learn three important things you can do daily to manage these symptoms.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms?

Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter the cells to produce energy. In type 2 diabetes, the cells in our body do not respond normally to insulin and are said to have “insulin resistance.”

According to TCM, type 2 diabetes is due to internal and external factors. “Internal factors responsible for type 2 diabetes include Dryness, Heat, and Yin (passive energy) Deficiency. External causes include long-term overeating, excessive consumption of alcohol, emotional imbalance, overworking, or exposure to Heat pathogens,” explains Eu Yan Sang TCM Physician Ignatius Ooi Yong Chin.

Type 2 diabetes progresses slowly and is a life-long disease. It goes through the stages of Stagnancy (pre-diabetes), Heat (early-stage diabetes), Deficiency (middle-stage diabetes), and Damage (late-stage diabetes), according to TCM.

As of now, there is no complete cure for diabetes, but medicines can help control blood sugar levels to some extent. With regular treatment and a healthy lifestyle, patients can delay or prevent health complications caused by diabetes.

What Are Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms?

Excessive thirst is one of the most common type 2 diabetes symptoms.

In TCM, people with the Yin Deficiency constitution are at a higher risk of diabetes. Common symptoms include dry mouth and throat, gravitation towards cold drinks when thirsty, slightly dry nose, dry stools, dry red tongue with little coating, and feverish sensation in the chest, palms, and soles.

Other possible symptoms include a flushed face, heaty sensation, dry eyes, unclear vision, slightly red lips, dehydrated skin prone to wrinkles, dizziness, ringing in the ears, disturbed sleep, and yellow-colored urine.

“As for Western medicine, early signs of diabetes include passing a lot of urine usually at night, and feeling thirsty. Other symptoms are weight gain and tiredness. People with type 2 diabetes also have slow healing of wounds,” explains Doctor Tan Ee Chong, an M.D. at One Wellness Medical Clinic in Singapore.

3 Tips For Managing Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

According to Dr. Tan, your doctor will conduct tests to ascertain your blood sugar levels and determine the severity of your condition. He or she will examine and check if your eyes, kidneys, and sense of touch have been affected.

Initial management involves diet modification as well as an oral medication to reduce your blood sugar levels. 

Additionally, you will also need to learn how to check and record your blood sugar level regularly. Your doctor will work with you as a team. He or she will assist you in monitoring your blood sugar and adjusting your medication to achieve good control.

You will also have to monitor your weight and watch for side effects of the medication or significant fluctuations in your blood sugar level, which can occur in this initial phase. If your diabetes remains uncontrolled or gets worse, you may need insulin injections or a specialist to help you with your treatments.

Lifestyle modifications

Eating a high protein and high fiber diet can help control blood sugar levels.

healthy diet and adequate exercise are essential to keep sugar levels under control.

Be mindful of the total calories you consume and have frequent small meals. Consume high-fiber, low-sugar, and easy-to-digest foods, and refrain from smoking and drinking.

Consider taking a 30-minute walk in the morning to help control blood sugar levels.

“Emotional stability is also important,” advises Physician Ooi. “Long-term negative emotions can weaken the immune system, causing hormonal disturbances and a spike in blood sugar levels.”  

Nutritious soups

Physician Ooi also recommends the following soup recipes to control blood sugar levels: 

  • Melon and watermelon rind soup: 50 grams of melon rind and watermelon rind each and 15 grams of trichosanthin. Boil the decoction in hot water.  
  • Goji berry and Calrose rice porridge: Prepare porridge with 20 grams of goji berries and 50 grams of Calrose rice.

Teas and supplements

Drinking tea is an easy way to lower blood sugar levels. Research shows that green tea contains antioxidant compounds that regulate inflammation and insulin levels.

Alternatively, you can also opt for ready-prepared herbal formulations that improve your health and wellness. For example, pure black garlic extract contains anti-diabetic properties that help control blood sugar levels.

Fiber supplements can also help regulate insulin by slowing down blood glucose dumping, or the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream.

Today, type 2 diabetes can be controlled and managed effectively in most patients, to avoid the development of complications. With appropriate treatment and a healthy lifestyle, you can live a long and full life.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Type 2 Diabetes 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Diabetes risk factors
  3. Nutrition Research And Practice. 2009. Antioxidant effect of garlic and aged black garlic in animal model of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  4. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2018. Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses.
  5. Diabetes and Metabolism Journal. 2013. The Effects of Green Tea on Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

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