It’s a killer.
Type II diabetes is running rampant through our family. My father’s family was decimated by this disease and the next generation is afflicted as well. This is a cause for concern, since our family history means that our children are at a higher risk of developing this debilitating condition.
What is diabetes?
The full name of the disease that most people mean when they say “diabetes” is “Diabetes Milletus.” This refers to a group of metabolic disorders that are characterized by high blood sugar and problems with proper insulin secretion and metabolism.
INSULIN is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that signals the body to allow sugar, amino acids and fatty acids (from the foods you eat) to enter the cells to produce energy.
If the sugar in your blood cannot get into the cells, it builds up in your blood and will cause damage to your body.
Consequently, when blood sugar is chronically high, it will cause damage to blood vessels, nerves and organs of the body.
It is estimated that over 23 million Americans have been diagnosed with Diabetes and nearly 60 million Americans have pre-diabetes. The incidence of Type II Diabetes, which used to be known as “Adult Onset Diabetes,” is increasing in children and adolescents, and seems to be related to the increasing level of obesity in these groups.
Symptoms of diabetes include excessive hunger, excessive thirst, excessive urination, lack of energy or fatigue, blurry vision and a tingling sensation in the extremities.
Although you may need to take insulin if your diabetes is advanced, there are a number of medications on the market that your doctor can prescribe. These drugs may help your body to make better use of the insulin that is available, naturally, to stimulate the pancreas to produce more, or the liver to release less glucose into the bloodstream.
While these medications may be of some value to you in managing your diabetes, as with all pharmaceuticals, there may be some serious side effects .
One such diabetes drug that has recently come under fire, is a medication called “Actos.” This drug lowers blood glucose levels by improving how your body uses insulin, and also decreasing the amount of glucose released by the liver.
The problem is that prolonged use of the drug, Actos, has been associated with the increased risk of bladder cancer and other serious health problems. Patients who have taken this drug and experienced these serious side effects have initiated Actos lawsuits in order to bring attention to the issue and to help those who have been affected.
Lifestyle affects diabetes.
There are some things you can do that will help you manage your diabetes that are not related to medications. For some people, Type II may be controlled with lifestyle changes or a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.
Eat a balanced diet.
The best way to manage diabetes with diet is to maintain an appropriate and consistent level of calories and carbs spaced throughout the day. Eating too many or too few carbs can wreak havoc on your insulin response which is already impaired if you have diabetes.
Most diabetics (who are managing their disease) control their diet by counting carbs. Carbohydrates are the foods that most readily turn into blood sugar, but proteins and fats can also be converted by the body, if needed.
Don't eat too much added sugar.
While diabetics don’t need to eliminate sugar altogether, avoiding foods with added sugar-- by any name-- is advisable for them as well as for the general population. Sugar, particularly in processed forms, can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and insulin response, so it is best to limit or avoid consuming too many sugary, processed foods.
Keep in mind that, eating too much food of any kind, even healthy food, is counterproductive in controlling diabetes.
Control your weight.
It has been shown that even losing 10 or 20 pounds can improve your body’s insulin resistance.
Inflammation is the root of illness.
Insulin resistance that can lead to the development of diabetes, may be triggered by inflammation, so it is important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet of colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbs and lean proteins.
In addition, fiber in foods helps regulate the release of sugar into your bloodstream, so a diet with adequate fiber is essential to managing diabetes.
Other lifestyle changes
Regular, moderate physical activity will help improve blood glucose levels as well as help you to achieve a healthy weight.
Learning to manage stress is also important for diabetics, since the hormonal changes caused by too much stress can have an effect on insulin's effectiveness.
You don't have to be a victim of diabetes. Depending on what type you have and where you are in the progression, this disease can be prevented or managed so that you can live a long, healthy life.