If you’ve had type 2 diabetes for a while, you’ve probably found yourself wondering if there’s any end to the things you need to know about living with diabetes. As you may now, diabetes is a chronic disease that influences just about every aspect of your life.
That’s why it’s so important to successfully manage your blood glucose levels and rely on the countless natural strategies that will enable you to overcome the challenges that type 2 diabetes presents, including relentless pangs of hunger.
Excessive hunger might even be one of the warning signs that would prompt a health care provider to test someone for type 2 diabetes.
Hunger and Type 2 Diabetes
They call it polyphagia, but being hungry all the time is a common complication associated with type 2 diabetes. Actually, polyphagia is one member of a triad of symptoms that health care professionals rely on to detect the presence of diabetes.
Polyphagia is simply a medical term for increased hunger. The other predictive symptoms are polyuria and polydipsia.
If you’re never satisfied after eating a meal, and you’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes, you might want to speak with your doctor about the symptoms that you’ve been experiencing lately.
Many people struggle with a collage of seemingly unrelated symptoms, including frequent urination, hunger pangs, constant snacking, weight gain and even weight loss. These kinds of symptoms have a tendency to grow worse over time.
If you speak to your doctor about these and other symptoms, there’s a good chance that you’ll be tested for diabetes and several other medical conditions.
No one wants type 2 diabetes, but it’s better to know what’s going on with your health, even if it’s a false alarm.
What is Polyphagia?
Polyphagia is characterized by an inability to feel full after a meal in combination with food cravings. Yes, craving sugar, refined carbohydrates and other maddening foods can be caused by polyphagia.
Also known as hyperphagia, polyphagia can make you hungry and causes you to eat a lot more than you should. Although polyphagia can be caused by diabetes, it can also be caused by both high blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia and low blood glucose levels, or hypoglycemia.
The following medical conditions are also known to cause polyphagia:
- eating disorders that involve binging
- hyperthyroidism, or high thyroid hormone levels
- pre-menstrual syndrome
- steroids and other prescription drugs
- psychiatric conditions
- Kleine-Levin syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome
I’m Still Hungry
Why does type 2 diabetes make you hungry? No matter what you try, you can’t seem to stay away from the fridge. Unfortunately, you never seem to get full. Something has changed. Can type 2 diabetes really throw someone’s health that far out of whack?
If it were just hunger, that would be bad enough, but you’re tired all the time, too. No one believes you when you tell them that you’re struggling with fatigue, but it seems like you’ve got a hundred pound weight strapped to your back. Hunger and fatigue are a strange combination of symptoms for someone that eats regularly, but that’s exactly what type 2 diabetes can do to you.
Well, what explains the overwhelming symptoms of hunger and fatigue? Believe it or not, the cells in your body are starved for energy. Sure, your digestive tract broke down the food that you ate and passed it along to the bloodstream in the form of glucose, but that’s where the process broke down.
The glucose never made it to your famished cells, and that’s why you’re always so hungry. It’s like you prepared a deluxe banquet for your cells, but your cells never received the invitation.
With type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, the body produces a certain amount of insulin, but then insulin production by the pancreas stops altogether. The disease is progressive, and insulin production will eventually decline and end completely.
Type 2 diabetes tends to develop more gradually and is typically diagnosed after several years of insulin resistance. A type 2 diabetic often experiences high blood glucose levels, but the body may still be able to produce some insulin to partially lower dangerously high blood glucose levels.
Insulin Resistance and Food Cravings
Type 2 diabetes can be characterized by an inability to produce enough insulin to deliver the glucose circulating in your bloodstream to the cells of your body. Even if your pancreas does produce a useful amount of insulin, you may experience insulin resistance at the cellular level.
This means that the insulin is not working the way it should. Insulin is supposed to be the key that unlocks the cell door to allow blood glucose into your cells.
When you experience insulin resistance, it’s like someone changed the locks on the doors that provide access to your cells. The insulin key can’t open the cell door, and your cells continue to beg for the energy they need to run your biological systems.
When there is too much insulin circulating in the bloodstream of a diabetic, it causes a condition called hyperglycemia.
Although everyone has to deal with food cravings, blood glucose levels can skyrocket when a type 2 diabetic gives in to the urge to enjoy a tempting snack. Learning how to manage cravings and controlling blood glucose levels are the keys to living successfully with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes related hunger pangs usually have nothing to do with legitimate hunger or stress induced eating unless you are suffering from hypoglycemia. Fortunately, you can learn to control cravings by following a disciplined eating schedule that includes regular meals and healthy snacks, especially a protein rich breakfast.
Remember, the hunger cravings induced by type 2 diabetes stem from a problem on the cellular level.
Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
Once you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and you understand how the disease works, including the manipulation of food cravings, you can take advantage of the medical and natural treatment options that have been developed over the years.
You may have to take medication, at least for a period of time. However, millions of diabetics have been able to use natural strategies to manage type 2 diabetes. Diabetes medications can boost insulin production and help move the glucose circulating in your bloodstream into your hungry cells.
Some people have more discipline than others, but everyone is tempted to jump off the wagon every once in a while. If you can’t stop thinking about chocolate cake and cinnamon rolls, or whatever your carbohydrate rich kryptonite might be, there are many ways to handle the crisis.
It’s important to learn from the wisdom of those who have gone before you. Try one of the following out-of-control craving solutions:
Use herbs and spices to add zest and flavor to your meals.
Eat slowly, dine with others and turn your meals into an enjoyable event.
Enjoy a glass of water before and during your meal to fill you up.
Begin your meal with a salad and consume the main course in a leisurely manner.
Monitor your blood glucose level when you try new foods or snacks.
Choose high-fiber and low-carbohydrate snacks.
Make conversation the centerpiece of your meals.
Exercise reduces hunger cravings and increases the efficiency of insulin.
Enjoy a small amount of your favorite treat and then shift your attention to an activity or priority that doesn’t involve food when you experience strong cravings.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s alright to exhibit a controlling personality when it comes to your health and food cravings. Life provides plenty of opportunities to overcome difficult challenges. There’s a lot that you need to know about controlling type 2 diabetes, but the rest is up to you.
Life is full of challenges, but how often do you have a chance to be praised for demonstrating your controlling tendencies? Now, it’s time to enjoy your life and meals.
Never allow type 2 diabetes or food cravings to get in your way. You’re in charge!