It seems as if we are not as scared of Type II diabetes as we should be. To that point, here’s what you should know:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as one in three US adults could have diabetes by 2050 if the current trends continue! Is that statistic scary enough for you? Complications resulting from Type II are extremely dramatic and quite serious. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and can lead to permanent disability and poor health. The risk of stroke is two to four times higher among people with diabetes. Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two to four times higher than adults without diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. It is also the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of the new cases in 2008 according to the CDC. Additionally, more than 60% of leg and foot amputations not related to accidents and injuries were performed on people with diabetes.
Are you quite fearful yet? I suppose so; therefore let’s discuss what we can do for ourselves and our families. The old school of thought was that if you are thirsty a lot, have frequent urination and have unexplained weight loss or gain you have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Now we have a way to predict it and not just catch it at the onset, it is called the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome requires three of the following factors to be present to predict your likelihood of getting diabetes.
- Waist size over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
- Serum triglyceride level over 150
- Serum HDL (good) cholesterol below 40 mg/dl in men and 50 mg/dl in women
- Blood pressure over 130/85, or being on blood pressure medication
- Fasting blood sugar over 110 mg/dl
Now that we can predict if we are at high risk of getting diabetes we need to focus on our diet. Nutrition should be the focus of all diabetic cures. It is critical to make food choices that are low in sugar and to consume an abundance of protein and vegetables. When we eat carbohydrates it is important that they are complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, oatmeal, etc.) and avoid simple carbohydrates (syrup, candies, etc.) altogether. Remember that dark chocolate, in moderation, is a great alternative.
Exercise is a great addition to your life, it will without a doubt help prevent diabetes. Exercise improves your body’s use of insulin. Burning excess body fat helps because decreasing body fat results in improved insulin sensitivity. Exercising increases the “good” HDL cholesterol and decreases the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
You might also want to consider taking a high quality multi-vitamin. This assists in bridging nutritional gaps and regulating hormones such as insulin. A high quality vitamin can also help protect your body from diabetic complications.
Fortunately there are also herbs that may assist in managing diabetes.
- Fenugreek – Reduces blood sugar levels
- Cinnamon – Contains minerals that help the body fight insulin resistance and triples insulin’s efficiency.
- Ginseng, onion & garlic – Contain blood sugar lowering ingredients and have great cardiovascular benefits.
The good news is that just by losing 10% of your body weight you will improve your body’s ability to use the insulin it makes, possibly preventing the onset of the disease. If you already have Type II diabetes, shedding 10% of your body weight may improve your symptoms and possibly prevent complications.
As a nation, there are significant ways to prevent or control diabetes. I personally feel we should work very diligently to prevent any disease that perpetuates amputations, cardiovascular diseases and kidney problems. Let’s watch our diet and teach our children to eat healthy. Let’s get moving and get our children off the couch. Let’s do this together and say no to diabetes!
In short, here’s the good news; you and your family do not need to live with diabetes. Consume mostly proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Keep your children away from the sofa and video games and take a walk with them. Remember, there are many glorious foods we can consume. Here’s a thought, make your own trail mix consisting of raw walnuts, raw almonds, lots of seeds, lots of berries and dark chocolate chips. I guarantee this will satisfy your sweet tooth and is actually quite healthy. Here is my parting wish: stay away from diet soda, it does not help you, only hinders you if you have diabetes. Remember to enjoy activities with your family.