Diabetes type 2 symptoms: ‘Diabetic diarrhoea’ is a warning sign – what is it?

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes would be benign were it not for high blood sugar levels. Ordinarily, your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that regulates blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. If you have type 2 diabetes, insulin is severely hobbled. The result is uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which launches an all-out assault on the body.

Diabetic diarrhoea is a casualty of consistently high blood sugar levels.

According to an article published in the journal JAMA, the diarrhoea is often intermittent; it may alternate with periods of normal bowel movements, or with constipation.

“It is typically painless, and occurs during the day as well as at night and may be associated with fecal incontinence,” the article states.

Diabetic diarrhoea is attributed to diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes.

High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout your body.

According to the JAMA article, diabetic diarrhoea is usually tied to autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy is where high blood sugar levels damage the autonomic nervous system, which controls your heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, sex organs and eyes.

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How to respond

The primary response to neuropathy is to bring your blood sugar levels under control.

The most effective countermeasures involve healthy lifestyle changes.

According to Diabetes.co.uk, exercise can help to lower blood sugar and walking is a good way of achieving this.

“It might make sense that exercising harder would have a better effect on lowering blood sugar therefore but this is not always the case as strenuous exercise can produce a stress response which causes the body to raise blood glucose levels,” warns the health body.

Although, as it explains, this response does tend to vary from person to person.

Diet also plays a key role and there are some general dietary principles to heed.

It is important to monitor your carbohydrate intake because carbs have a marked impact on blood sugar levels.

To help you sort the bad carbs from the good carbs, you should refer to the glycaemic index (GI).

The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.

It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

Carbs that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.

High GI foods include:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes.

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