Originally published April 17 2008
The Diabetes Wake-Up Call and How to Avoid Diabetes
by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.
(NaturalNews) Diabetes has become so common in our society that during my last trip to the grocery store I saw two separate magazines dedicated to healthy diabetic living and at least a handful of nutrition bars aimed at regulating glucose levels in the insulin resistant. This was all while I was in line waiting to check out. The fact that there are entire aisles of food and supplements dedicated entirely to those living with diabetes is a testament to the overall poor health of our country. For this reason alone it should come as no surprise that approximately one in four Americans has pre-diabetes, a condition that can develop into type 2 diabetes within 10 years if left untreated. If you aren't currently at risk, odds are that someone you love is and that's bad news. But there is a silver lining to the pre-diabetes cloud: A recent major national study has proven that with a few lifestyle changes, pre-diabetes can be reversed and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 58%. Pre-diabetes should serve as a wake-up call and not an inevitable sentence of Life With Diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic health problem stemming from elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. Glucose is a simple sugar that our bodies derive from the foods that we eat. The body's metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats leads directly to the production of glucose, which enters the bloodstream after a meal and is the necessary nutrient to provide energy to every cell in the body. When too much glucose is present in the bloodstream, diabetes results.
Glucose levels become elevated when the glucose is unable to enter the cells in the bloodstream. Imagine that your bloodstream is a highway and each cell in the bloodstream is a car. Cars need gasoline (glucose) in order to run, and these cars within your bloodstream require a key to unlock the gas cap before the tank can be filled. In your body, this key is insulin. Without insulin the glucose cannot get into the cells and it is left to float freely through the bloodstream. Just as a car without gasoline will eventually fail to run, your body will begin to suffer without glucose.
In the case of type 2 diabetes, it's as if someone has changed the locks on the gas cap. The cells fail to recognize the insulin and deny entrance to the glucose. That's what we call insulin resistance.
There are two different tests that can be used to determine if a person has diabetes. Each test measures the patient's blood glucose levels after a period of fasting and then determines if the patient is in the normal, pre-diabetic or diabetic range. A normal test result indicates that the body is processing glucose properly, where as a diabetic test result indicates that the body is resisting insulin and too much glucose is present in the bloodstream. A pre-diabetes test score falls short of the lower threshold for diabetes yet still indicates an elevated presence of glucose in the bloodstream. Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes is a powerful wake-up call that should not be ignored.
Type 2 diabetes can eventually lead to serious health complications and it is estimated that 2 out of 3 people with diabetes will die from heart disease or stroke. Research has shown that the type of long-term damage that typically occurs in those with diabetes can actually begin during pre-diabetes. The elevated blood glucose levels associated with pre-diabetes can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by 50% over those who have normal blood glucose levels.
Fortunately, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February of 2002 has provided hope for those living with pre-diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program Study showed that just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10% reduction in body weight, produced a 58% reduction in diabetes for those already diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The researchers believe that weight loss reduces the risk of diabetes by improving the ability of the body to use insulin and process glucose.
When it comes to physical activity the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with pre-diabetes or diabetes should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes most days. Physical activity can consist of walking, gardening, doing yard work, swimming or cleaning the house. According to the ADA, beneficial physical activity can be, "anything that increases your heart rate and causes you to break a sweat." Don't worry, however, if 30 minutes seem overwhelming at first. Breaking up activities into 3 10-minute intervals a day is a great way to achieve the desired 30 minutes.
Healthy eating is an important component to any weight loss plan and often times can seem overwhelming. Keep in mind that there is no one perfect food so it is important to eat a wide variety of foods including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans and lean meats, poultry and fish. The key is to regulate portion sizes while lowering your fat and caloric intake.
I highly recommend consulting with your doctor as well as a nutritionist before making any major lifestyle changes. Your overall health should be factored into any exercise and healthy eating plan to prevent the possibility of causing more harm than good. Additionally, allowing a certified nutritionist to guide you through the often confusing world of healthy eating will not only provide you with valued support but can also boost your chances of success.
A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is an opportunity to take your health into your own hands and make changes for the better. By incorporating physical activities, healthy eating and taking the right supplements into your life you are not only taking steps to avoid diabetes but you are improving your overall health and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease as well. If you or someone you know is one of the 25% with pre-diabetes, seize this opportunity to make a detour on the road to diabetes! I also recommend perfectlyhealthy Metabolic Rx for pre diabetes symptoms which includes chromium including the perfectlyhealthy Mega Greens plus MSM and pH Plus! Together with the proper diet and exercise, these supplements can help!
About the authorLeigh Erin Connealy, M.D. has specialized in Integrative Medicine for over twenty years, using conventional and natural methods to determine and discover the "root of the cause" in her clinic, Center for New Medicine in Irvine, California, each and every day. Many people come in to the clinic from all over the world with severe chronic illnesses that conventional medical protocols have been unsuccessful treating. She realized early on that she can truly change lives through education as well as treatment protocols.
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. and her medical staff strives to look at the whole person while exploring the effects and relationships among nutrition, psychological and social factors, environmental effects and personal attunement. Out of frustration of trying to find the right products to help her patients she formulated the perfectlyhealthy brand of products. All perfectlyhealthy products are clinically tested. For more information on recommended products, please visit www.perfectlyhealthy.net or www.perfectlyhealthy.com.
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