DIABETES – EPIDEMIC OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas can’t make enough insulin or the body can’t use the insulin produced efficiently. Insulin helps our bodies to produce glucose, a sugar which our bodies use for energy that comes from most foods we eat. With diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood, instead of being produced and delivered for energy production.
Of those with diabetes, 5% are Type 1 while 95% are Type 2 . The more serious Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually found in children or young adults. The immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin, preventing cells from taking up needed sugar from blood. Someone with type 1 diabetes needs daily injections of insulin and a strict diet with regular blood sugar monitoring under physician supervision.
Type 2, or adult onset, is the more common form of diabetes and affects primarily adults over age 55, with about 80 percent being overweight. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas usually produces insulin, but for different reasons the body can’t use the insulin effectively including primarily transfer into the cells. Glucose if not delivered into the cells where needed then builds up in the blood to produce unwanted excessive blood sugar levels.
The symptoms of diabetes include feeling tired or ill, frequent urination, unusual thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow healing of sores.
High risk factors for developing diabetes
High risk factors for developing diabetes include:
- Being more than 20 percent above your ideal body weight;
- Having immediate family with diabetes;
- Having high blood pressure of 140/90 or higher;
- Belonging to certain ethnic groups;
- Having low HDL, the good cholesterol; or high triglycerides
70 to 100 is now considered a normal blood sugar level, with 100 to 125 classified as pre-diabetic and over 126 being diabetes; the latter doubling your chance of death. A must in monitoring blood sugar status in the body is a resting Hb-A1c test that measures the percentage of glucose molecules clinging to your red blood cells for the past 90 days. A 5.0 level is normal. If you have had diabetes Type 2 for an extended time, a 7.0 level is sought while 5.0 for a non-diabetic. If higher you have too much sugar floating in your blood and are prediabetic or diabetic.
Diabetes treatment focuses on keeping blood sugar in a normal range daily. Your doctor can evaluate if you need diabetes drugs or insulin shots but measurement over time is necessary versus instant readings that can be reading a spike in insulin rather than your overall blood sugar level over time.
In diet, a low carbohydrate, restricted sugar diet combined with exercise with weight control helps control or diminish your diabetes. Most diabetics should restrict carbohydrate intake to less than 45 grams daily. Don’t skip meals and eat several small ones if your schedule allows. Many prepare small servings and keep them in serving-size containers to be used throughout the day. Weight control is essential and often can dramatically reduce diabetes symptoms and sometimes even produce a cure based on blood sugar measurements.
DIABETIC DANGERS IN HEALTH
Diabetes is in almost epidemic growth in the United States, having doubled in just 15 years. How serious is diabetes? Did you know diabetes is now the primary cause of blindness (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), amputations and nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) in the U.S.? Negative lifestyle changes in recent years, including obesity and lack of exercise, are primary causes.
Additionally, 65% of diabetics die from a heart attack or stroke, contributing to cardiovascular disease being the primary cause of death in the U.S.
The good news is if you have diabetes it can in most cases be controlled to enable a normal lifestyle. If you are diagnosed as millions of others, follow these steps and the advice of your physician:
As stated before, have a hemoglobin A1C blood test quarterly to know your average blood sugar level over the previous 3 months. Most physicians consider a target level of 7.0 or below for extended-time diabetics, with 5.0 for non-diabetics. Your fasting blood sugar should be below 130, with a target of 70 to 100.
Cholesterol levels are especially important because of the relationship of high cholesterol to heart attack and stroke risks. LDL or bad cholesterol should be less than 100 for diabetics. If diabetic, blood pressure should be below 140/90, with a prescription drug such as Lisinopril often given to assist in blood pressure management. Realize Lisinopril has side effects that increase mucous production that can negatively affect sleep and voice quality.
A baby aspirin of 81 mg is frequently suggested daily for cardio protective effects in the blood unless taking blood thinners such as Warfarin or Heparin. Do not take in excess of a baby aspirin dosage unless advised by your physician. Excess aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, usage can raise unwanted liver enzyme levels so be aware. Kidney disease and renal failure are a major risk with angiotensin-converting enzymes, or ACE inhibitors, often prescribed for diabetics.
Be sure to have your eyes checked annually for diabetic retinopathy. An ophthalmologist will check your retina at the back of your eye for diabetic damage. Natural ingredients in supplements such as NSC Immunition Eye Care Formula nutritionally contribute beneficial nutrients and vitamins for your eyes to help address diabetic concerns.
Your feet are often negatively affected by diabetes and are another risk area that your doctor will check with a device called a monofilament that tests your nerves and sensation. Exercise positively improves insulin resistance and decreases blood sugar levels. With doctor approval, moderate exercise activities of 30 minutes daily are optimum.
Acute complications of diabetes then include hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, and hyperosmolar hypoglycemia (dehydration with 20% comas), while chronic complications are cardiovascular diseases, renal failure involving the kidneys, retinal damage in the eyes, nerve damage and poor healing. Be aware and make necessary lifestyle changes to avoid so many negative health challenges from diabetes.