DIABETES - A NATIONAL EPIDEMIC!
"WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT DIABETES FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY?
The results are in, and the prognoses isnât good. In fact, itâs a national disaster.
Cases of diabetes are virtually exploding across the country. Not only that, but weâre starting to see this once âold-ageâ ailment in younger and younger people.
In fact, almost unheard of during most of the 20th century, type 2 diabetes in now a significant disease among children! According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) up toÂ 45% of newly diagnosed children with diabetes, may be typeÂ 2. (The reason why this is so alarming will be made clear below.)
But letâs start at the beginning â what is diabetes?
WHAT IS DIABETES MELLITUS?
Diabetes = running through
Mellitus = sweet
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, occurring when you donât have enough insulin to properly regulate your blood sugar (glucose) levels, or your insulin levels are more or less normal, but you are âinsulin resistant.â This means it takes more than normal levels of insulin to lower the blood sugar, and consequently you donât have enough for maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
When we digest our meals, most of theÂ carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and other simple sugars. Blood glucose rises promptly after food is eaten.
Glucose is the fuel our cells need to do their work. This glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, and when weâre healthy our insulin acts like a âkeyâ allowing that glucose to be absorbed into the cells.
Any excess glucose is converted to triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells for future fuel. Itâs the bodyâs way of storing up energy when food is scarce. Many if not most people who gain weight from carbs are the descendents of those who had âthrifty genes.â Genetically they were very efficient at storing calories (as fat) and so they survived to pass on their fat storing traits through the centuries.
But what happens when we have too little insulin, or the insulin we do have is inactive? The receptor gateways in the cells remain âlockedâ and glucose canât get in. Since the blood glucose isnât being absorbed into the cells, it stays circulating throughout the bloodstream, leading to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
TYPES OF DIABETES
There are several types of diabetes. The two most common types are Type 1 and Type 2.
In Type 1 (insulin dependent diabetes; formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes mellitus), the pancreas makes little or no insulin. This is due to the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes can begin at any age, but usually occurs in children and young adults.
In Type 2 (non-insulin dependent diabetes; formerly called adult-onset diabetes mellitus), insulin resistance occurs from being overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes cases.
This is why type 2 diabetes in children is so alarming. Kids who should be at their most active stages in life are instead inactive, overeating, withdrawn children who will pay a steep price for their unhealthy lifestyle.
Did You Knowâ¦ For the first time in human history, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are killing more people than communicable viral or bacterial infections?
Just treating these preventable conditions costs more than one-seventh of the entire total market value of all goods and services produced in the USA per year?
Diabetes Risk Factors
TYPE 1 DIABETES:
Genetics and family history. Having family members with diabetes is a major risk factor. The American Diabetes Association recommends that anyone with a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes -- a mother, father, sister, or brother -- should get screened for diabetes if they have any of these classic symptoms: excessive thirst leading to frequent urination, and weight loss in spite of increased appetite. A simple blood test can diagnose type1 diabetes.
Diseases of the pancreas. Injury, surgical removal or diseases of the pancreas can inhibit its ability to produce insulin.
Infection or illness. A range of relatively rare infections and illnesses can damage the pancreas, causing type 1 diabetes
TYPE 2 DIABETES:
Obesity or being overweight. Diabetes has long been linked to obesity and being overweight. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that the single best predictor of type 2 diabetes is having too many extra pounds.
Obesity, and consequently diabetes, are both epidemic in the U.S. The most-used measure for obesity is BMI, or Body Mass Index. BMI is a ratio, and can be determined using standard tables of height and weight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher defines obesity.
The CDC estimates that more than one out of every four Americans is obese, having a BMI of 30 to 39.9; 6% of Americans have clinically severe obesity. That means they have a BMI of 40 or greater.
Ethnic background. Diabetes occurs more often in Hispanic/Latino Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska natives.
Sedentary lifestyle. Being inactive -- exercising less than three times a week -- makes you more likely to develop diabetes.
Age. Some doctors advise anyone over 45 to be screened for diabetes. That's because increasing age puts you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It's important to remember people at any age can develop diabetes. If you're over 45 and overweight, or if you have symptoms of diabetes, talk to your doctor about a simple screening test.
CHECK YOUR BMI!
Other Risk Factors For Diabetes
Prediabetes - Impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. Prediabetes is a milder form of diabetes that's sometimes called impaired glucose tolerance. Diagnosed with a simple blood test, prediabetes is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes often starts with cells resistant to insulin. That means they have a decreased response to insulin as it tries to move glucose from the blood into cells. With insulin resistance, the pancreas has to work overly hard to produce enough insulin so cells can get the energy they need. This involves a complex process that eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.
High blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for diabetes. High blood pressure is generally defined as 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol and high triglyceride levels also put you at risk.
History of gestational diabetes. If you developed diabetes while you were pregnant, you've had what is called gestational diabetes*. Having had gestational diabetes puts you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. (* see below)
Polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. This disease is an imbalance of a woman's female sex hormones, and is a rather common condition. The principal features are obesity, irregular menstruation or no menstruation, increased acne, excess facial and body hair while losing hair on the scalp, and insulin resistance.
Diabetes While Pregnant
Diabetes triggered by pregnancy is called gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM, and affects about 4% of all U.S. pregnancies. It's caused either by hormones produced by the placenta or by having too little insulin. High blood sugar from the mother crosses the placenta barrier, causing high blood sugar in the baby. If left untreated this can lead to serious health, growth and development problems in the yet unborn child.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- Obesity or being overweight. Being obese or overweight puts women at a greater risk of gestational diabetes.
- Previous glucose intolerance. A history of glucose intolerance or previous gestational diabetes increases the risk of gestational diabetes in a current pregnancy.
- Family history. A family history of diabetes -- a parent or sibling who's been diagnosed with diabetes -- increases the risk of gestational diabetes.
- Age. The older a woman is when she becomes pregnant, the higher her risk of gestational diabetes.
All pregnant women under the care of a health professional are screened for this condition.
Did You Knowâ¦ breastfed children are less likely to be fat, or develop type 2 diabetes, eczema, and certain cancers later on in life? In fact, women who breastfeed are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes themselves!
The American Journal of Medicine writes that those women who donât breastfeed can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost twice later on in life â even if itâs decades later.
When women do develop gestational diabetes, breastfeeding can improve their glucose metabolism and help stabilize their blood sugar levels.
Ok, You Have Diabetes
Or Pre-Diabetesâ¦ Now What?
We Can Help!
First things first. The best thing you can do is to delay or prevent diabetes before it becomes a life-altering threat.
Hereâs what I highly suggestâ¦
- Manage your blood pressure
- Keep your weight within or near normal ranges
- Get moderate exercise on most days
- Eat a balanced diet
However, if youâre already past these stages, there still MUCH you can do for lessening the effects of diabetes in your life.
TREATING DIABETES MELLITUS
LIFE STYLE MODIFICATIONS
There are six factors to help keep your blood glucose levels in an acceptable range.
1) MEAL PLANNING (Medical Nutritional Therapy)
Nutritional intervention is one of the most important cornerstones for any person wanting to improve their health, especially those with diabetes.
If you do have diabetes, making the appropriate food choices and behavioral changes will significantly aid in improving your blood glucose levels. In fact, there are several natural nutrients which are frequently lacking even in a good nutritional program that can lower blood sugar. Also, no matter how overweight you are, losing 10-20 lbs can have a profound effect on lowering you blood sugar.
Many people will experience significant improvement in their diabetic symptoms by improved diet and taking specific natural supplements such as Blood Sugar Support.
Exercise lowers blood glucose by increasing your metabolism, which increases the rate of burning off blood sugar. In Type 2 diabetes, exercise will also cause your cells to be more insulin sensitive. Even a small weight loss (10-20 lbs) can lower blood glucose significantly.
I personally recommend a health history and physical exam before engaging in an exercise program. Additionally, a stress EKG is advised for people over 35 with diabetes because of the increased risk of heart problems this disease brings with it.
However, be aware itâs a myth that moderate exercise alone will lead to significant weight loss. It takes exercising for 2 hours or more each day to lose appreciable amounts of body fat. (But then again, you will feel decades younger!)
Many people with diabetes use manufactured insulin to take the place of insulin when they can no longer make enough on their own. Treatment of Type 1 diabetes always includes insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes often take insulin but may be treated with oral medication. There are many different types of oral medications which can be tailored to an individual's lifestyle and medical condition.
4) MONITORING YOUR DIABETES
If you have diabetes, monitoring your blood glucose levels is paramount. The effects of timing your meals, what you eat, medications you take, physical activity you engage in and the amount of stress you may be under all affect your blood glucose levels. After a physical examination, your doctor or health care provider can determine the monitoring schedules and methods best suited for you.
Almost all (95-99%) daily diabetes care is self-care. One of the most important things a person with diabetes can do is learn about this disease and how to properly manage their blood glucose levels.
Many studies have shown people with diabetes can greatly reduce or eliminate the risk of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, nerve damage, amputations and other related risks by properly controlling their condition. As with most other illnesses, you must take responsibility for maintaining your own health. Denying you have a disease, or acting as if it just doesnât matter will only make things infinitely worse.
6) STRESS MANAGEMENT
Itâs a known scientific fact: Distress (negative stress: not all stress is negative) can raise blood sugar faster and higher than wolfing down a pint of ice cream. This is due to the âfight or flightâ response inborn in almost every human being.
When threatened, our bodies release the major stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol â raising our blood sugar levels so we have the âfuelâ needed to quickly react. This was indispensable when dealing with hungry carnivores looking for a quick snack from their human prey, or when we were facing down hostile tribes looking to annihilate us.
This is what gives us modern day humans enormous strength during times of physical threat, and helps us to escape dangerous situations by dulling pain, even if weâre seriously wounded.
However, constant distress is another thing altogether. Itâs a chronic state of unease, with no concrete threat to identify. We simply canât run away and be done with it. If our bodies are continually pouring out stress hormones, eventually weâre going to pay the price in a variety of illnesses: Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic fatigueâ¦ just to name a few.
Overcoming negative stress is vastly overlooked by most people, including many physicians. One way to beat stress is to exercise. Not only will exercise use up excess blood sugars, but it will often produce natural endorphins to safely calm us down.
Being mentally prepared (having faith, hope & compassion) is also a known stress reliever.
Meditation is also an excellent way for calming the mind and body, bringing us back to a sense of peace and well being. You may want to try using Sound Therapy programs, which create many of the same benefits of meditation, simply by listening to specialized musical tones and cadences.
When it seems weâre at our emotional limits, reaching out to friends, family or health care professionals can help immeasurably â and should never be overlooked.
Modern day stress is inevitable. Itâs how we deal with it that will make all the difference in the world.
Blood Sugar Support Â®
Controlling & Managing Blood Sugar The Natural Way
If you are not on medication, or would like to try to reduce or even discontinue your prescription medicines â you first have to start making the necessary life style changes mentioned above.
You may consider using Blood Sugar Support from Vital Nutrients. This supplement includes a vegetarian blend of 8 synergistic ingredients shown in clinical trials to lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and provide optimal pancreatic functioning.
- Holy Basil (Ocinum sanctum), Gymnema sylvestre (both used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine) and American Ginseng Root are well known adaptogenic herbs, providing support in extending healthy cortisol levels.
- Chromium assists with the maintenance of lean muscle mass and high density lipoproteins.
- Cinnamon, used for centuries in Asia, this spice has a beneficial effect in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
- Vanadium - Vanadium can improve insulin sensitivity in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Itâs also been shown in human studies to have some ability in lowering bad cholesterol and regulating blood pressure.
- Fenugreek Seed Fibers â Studies have shown this herb can reduce fasting glucose levels, as well as having a positive effect on total cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Biotin â Also known as Vitamin H, this water soluble B complex nutrient is thought to work with chromium in improving blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Live well & healthy!
Robert Lang, M.D.
P.S. Remember, before you stop or reduce any current medication plan, IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL YOU CONSULT WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN FIRST!
This is not an option. Your health could be put in severe jeopardy if you just stop taking your diabetic prescriptions on your own.
P.P.S. Did you know that in five clinical trials involving 36,752 patients, it was shown that statin drugs for reducing cholesterol can also increase the risk of developing diabetes? These findings were recently published in June, 2011 by The Journal of the American Medical Association.