Not too many years ago when somebody spoke of Diabetes Mellitus, it was because a young child had it or some very old person had develop this very strange and troublesome disease. So what is Diabetes? When the doctors at John Hopkins described diabetes in their most recent health alerts it was simply referred to as a metabolic disorder. They went on to characterize it more specifically as having very high glucose or sugar in the blood.
This is not a problem if the body can produce the hormone insulin so we can metabolize or digest sugars and starches properly. Actually this all gets into a real delicate balancing act between the pancreas producing insulin and the liver working hard to flush out the glucose or sugars from the system. As I think back, my grandparents referred to diabetes as “sugar”, sort of a vernacular for the disease. I’m sure some of yours did too.
Type 2 Diabetes
The estimates vary as to the numbers of people that have type 2 diabetes in the United States. Some estimates go as high 35 million with only about one third of those really being treated properly with diet, exercise and medication. The world wide estimate in 2000 was 153.9 million people with most going untreated.
Look forward to 2025 and the increase is almost double to 300 million individuals with a disease that has multiple additional medical problems. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota suggests that the best that we can hope for at this time is to manage the disease. There is no recognized cure currently.
Am I at Risk?
You are considered at high risk if there is a family history of diabetes, live a sedentary life style, are over weight, a smoker and are perhaps part of a high risk ethnic group such as Asian, Hispanics, African-American, or Native-American. Another risk factor for women would be gestational diabetes. There is nothing to be done about the hereditary risk factors, but let’s get a handle on the three that everyone has some control of: weight, smoking, exercise.
Prevention and Keeping Diabetes at Bay
Being overweight increases your chances of becoming a diabetic by 20 to 40 times compared to someone with a healthy weight. Even a 10% drop in body weight cuts your chances by half of becoming a statistic. E.B Rimm, and others, were pioneers in their work about the risks of smoking for the diabetics, the cardiac and circulatory issues for both women and men. What is important about becoming a nonsmoker?
If you stop smoking your risk factor drops by well over half according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The real kicker is that over 60% of diabetics die of cardiac arrest or heart attacks. Don’t be a statistic. Stop smoking. Hypnosis works extremely well for both of these issues.
Let’s take a look at the many women and men that have never had an athletic bone in their body. Normal daily activities won’t cut it. It just isn’t enough exercise to get the glucose moving. Sending people off to the local exercise spa sends chills of fear and terror into their hearts. Their mental image of having to get into shorts or tights and a leotard is enough to cause heart palpitations. What the experts have found that does work is to have them work up to a brisk 30 minute walk a day. The old adage of no pain, no gain has its merits.
They also learned that social drinkers faired a bit better in that the glucose was able to get into the cells including brain cells a bit easier. We all know how greedy the brain is. It always takes what it needs first and foremost. For women, this means three drinks a week and for men, no more than one per day. If you haven’t been imbibing, this may not be the time to start, but happy hour may not be a bad idea after all.
Making changes is never easy, but here you have a choice. If it is white or quick or instant cooking absolutely forget it. Don’t touch that box! When it comes to grains and whole grains, read the product label and be sure of what you are buying: whole wheat, brown rice, lentils, other beans nuts, and whole grain breakfast cereals such as steel cut oats.
Good fat is something we need in our diet and can enjoy as we cook with it. We can get it in the tuna fish and salmon we eat, and in the olive oil we use on the salad. A small handful of walnuts, pecans, or almonds can be sprinkled on that salad or eaten as a healthy snack. That was some good oil and some protein to hold you until the next meal.
Vegetables are your friend with few exceptions, and they are the ones that turn to sugar at a blink of an eye. Be very wary of munching on carrots and peas. Well they might have been a childhood favorite, but they are deadly now. Look to the greens, yes that would be broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, green beans, and zucchini. Most can be eaten steamed, cooked with garlic and olive oil or raw as part of you salad.
Consequences from Top to Bottom
Memory loss is a real big one. An Italian study suggests that type 2 diabetics, when tested, have poorer cognitive function, this was supported by several other studies. However a study reported in the journal Neurology implied that if properly medicated and controlled, not only did the subjects in their study improve their cognitive skills, but there was a benefit to the heart, eyes, and kidneys also.
Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of blindness in diabetics. What the eye sees is recorded on the retina. The macula may be damaged or impaired by either small blood vessels being damaged or by abnormal glucose levels. Early detection is paramount, so an annual visit to your eye doctor is essential. If there is a change as in anything, don’t wait, call and make that appointment immediately!
Hypertension or high blood pressure goes along with the narrowing of the blood vessels for diabetics. The common risks include stroke, and congestive heart failure. Persistent high blood pressure causes enlargement of the heart and eventually its failure to work. Coronary artery disease is the narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart. If that is compromised, the individual develops angina or chest pains. Sometimes they think they are having indigestion. Don’t take any chances it, could be a classic heart attack. For women this is the number one killer.
Diabetic neuropathy is by far the very strangest and the least understood of all problems. The usual focus is in the legs. It affects nerve function and may cause a variety of symptoms like tingling, burning, pins and needles, numbness or sever pain. Some people have reported that they are very sensitive to touch, others feel no sensation what so ever. The problems seem to worsen in the evening and if the weather is cold and damp. There does not seem to be anything to prevent this problem.
Some clinical experimental work with topamax, an anti-seizure medication, is being used to regenerate the nerves and help diabetics control their weight problem. The individuals have reported that they can feel their feet and there has been significant weight loss. This is being done off label.
Diabetic nephropathy or kidney failure usually develops after ten or more years of living with diabetes. In the later stages of diabetes high blood pressure is found and eventually symptoms of water retention appear. If the body won’t respond to medications to help eliminate the fluids, the kidneys may shut down completely. Here again be sure and have your physician check to be sure that your urine is free of albumin or protein. After all your kidneys have an awful lot to process all of the time.
Three Easy Breaths
Wow, this was a lot of material. What a lot to digest, while staying in touch with the body. To know what you need from a position of calm and clarity.
Take three easy breaths before you do another thing. Breathing is not optional. Breathing is always on the top of your to do list! This will allow for the clarity to make decisions that are right for you. So Breathe, three easy breathes releasing tension, toxins and negativities so you can stay calm relaxed and think clearly as you settle into a wonderful adventure.
Dr. Sandra Landsman may be contacted at:
810 Saturn Street, Suite
Jupiter, Florida 33477 U.S.A.
561.575.0547 Mobile 561.512.1002