PREVENTION IS THE KEY TO AVOIDING DIABETES
Diabetes currently affects almost 21 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Alarmingly there are about one million new diagnosed cases of diabetes a year. Even more alarming is that the age of onset has dropped dramatically. It used to be primarily a “senior” disease, affecting those over age 45, but lately this is not the case anymore.
There are two main types of diabetes: type I, which usually is diagnosed in childhood and requires insulin ( a hormone produced in the pancreas); and type II, which does not require insulin but may require medication. Most cases, about 95% are type II, which can be prevented in the overwhelming majority of cases with proper diet and exercise. Of greatest interest to our readers should be the marked rise of type II diabetes among children.
In type II diabetes the body does not properly process insulin. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to the prescence of sugar in the bloodstream. Simple sugars, refined sugars such as sucrose found in candies, cookies etc. enter the bloodstream rapidly and the body reacts by pouring a lot of insulin into the bloodsteam to remove the excess sugars and storage them. As this happens repeatedly, over time, the ability of the pancreas to adjust the amount of insulin weakens and the cell’s response is slower and slower. At first this over-reaction to junky sugar and the consequence of weakened pancreas can be referred to as hypo-glycemia. Lately the medical world also refers to this scenario as Syndrome X, or Metabolic Syndrome. With continued use of simple carbohydrates (sugars) and a poor nutritional foundation the condition becomes type II diabetes.
Recently in my office a patient’s husband came in to pick her up. They informed me that he had just been diagnosed with type II and was starting medication (which he was told he would have to take for the rest of his life!) I looked at him, noticing that he was about 40-50 pounds overweight, and simply asked him how many slices of bread he had eaten that day. He responded “five!!” (“rye” bread which is 85% white bleached wheat). If only his doctor had advised him to drastically cut back on his intake of refined simple carbs, exercise and lose weight , then most assuredly he would not have to rely on medication (which has its side effects). For example, the recent FDA alert about an increased risk of heart attack with one particular medication, Avandia.
Of course, as reported by the CDC, people with diabetes are more prone to stokes, eye diseases such as glaucoma, gum disease, heart disease, kidney damage, and nerve problems.
So, holistically, naturally, how do we prevent diabetes?
First and foremost: exercise at least 20-30 minutes in a row a day about five days a week. A simple moderately brisk walk will do.
Seconldy, avoid simple sugars ( carbohydrates) such as refined wheat, candy, soda pop, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, splenda included.
Thirdly, eat the right foods (based on your individual needs, blood type etc. ) and take the proper combination of supplements including minerals like chromium, which aid the body’s ability to deal with sugar.