Diabetes is a worldwide pandemic, and in America it’s our fifth most deadly disease. Though genetics play a role, for the most part you “catch” diabetes from an environment laden with overly processed fatty and sugary foods, too much sitting, 24/7 tension, not enough sleep, and too little fruit, vegetables and whole grains. All these elements combine to sabotage your body’s ability to process blood sugar and what happens next isn’t sweet. Left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, amputations, cancer, reproductive problems and an untimely death.
At the heart of type 2 diabetes is obesity. In fact, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, 90 percent of all people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. If you’re a man, your risk of developing the disease jumps 40 times as your BMI or body mass index, climbs toward the obese end of the BMI scale. The news is even worse for women: Their diabetes risk jumps a whopping 93 times as their weight edges over the obese line on the scale.
Diabetes isn’t just “a touch of sugar as our grandmothers once described it. It wreaks life-threatening, body-wide havoc. Diabetes can increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes by as much as four times over that of a person without the disease. Three out of four people with diabetes have high blood pressure; one in three has severe gum disease.
Body-wide inflammation, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, may help explain why one in four people with high blood-sugar problems is also dogged by depression. Of course, simply staying on top of this health concern is a daily, even hourly, weekly, monthly, and all-year job—one that takes a mental and emotional toll that can lead to burnout and low moods. It’s a double whammy. Now there’s new evidence that diabetes plus depression further magnifies risk for heart disease What’s more, the health costs are steep. Diabetes is the leading cause of blind ness and kidney failure in the United States. It causes blood sugar-related nerve damage and circulation problems that fuel foot and leg infections that cause 86,000 amputations a year. Having diabetes puts you at added risk for 24 types of cancer (including those of the pancreas, liver, kidneys and thyroid) and at a 70 percent higher risk for bone fractures.
Sounds horrid, doesn’t it? But if there’s one lesson in the pages ahead, it’s that…
Smart lifestyle choices can go a very long way to preventing diabetes or minimizing its effects
It’s time to commit. Pick one activity to do this moment that will at least symbolically show you’re taking a step in the right direction. Fill out a food journal, purge your kitchen of diabetes-unfriendly foods or simply write yourself a note that you’re committed to giving yourself a better life.
Taking charge of diabetes doesn’t have to be a full-time job, but you have to be mindful of it throughout your entire day whether you’re eating, doing yard work, or getting ready for bed. You’ll have а team to help you, but the doctors, nurses, and specialists aren’t your primary caregivers—you are. And your success ultimately depends on managing а treatment plan that puts you squarely in charge.
As you begin to manage your condition you’ll find yourself developing а sort of personal expertise in things such as diet, exercise, and blood-sugar monitoring. That kind of mindset will provide you lifelong benefits. So each week pick a different aspect of the disease to study upon. Just a few minutes’ reading here and there is all you need. Perhaps you’ll dive into the functions of the pancreas or maybe you can examine how exercise affects blood sugar. The more you know, the better you can control your condition.
Create a game plan for any doctors’ visits this month. Make a schedule of the appointments and, with each one, create a goal about what you wish to take from the appointment. Even if it’s a routine check-up, you can have a simple goal of getting to know а nurse, nutritionist or practitioner a little better as a way to bolster your healthcare team.
Longer term goals don’t have to be seemingly unscalable mountains. Over the course of a year if you lose just 7 percent of your body weight you’ll most likely be able to lower your doses of medication and lower your blood sugar. Dealing with ups and downs can be frustrating, but if you have that attainable goal in mind over the course of the year you’ll flip the calendar to a new, better you.
There’s no getting around it: Once you have diabetes you’ve got it for life, and no operation, therapy or drug can cure it—although gastric bypass surgery does put some people into remission. The good news is that controlling it can almost be like a cure in that lowering high blood sugar can stop diabetes in its tracks and reduce your risk of developing the health problems that go along with it. Bringing diabetes under control is an important task and there’s no one better qualified to do it than you.
Take home message
Breakthroughs. Myths. Insights. What we know about diabetes is constantly evolving. In our blog, you’ll discover that a little knowledge can go along way toward reversing diabetes. There are plenty of good reasons to be smarter аbout managing this “sugar disease”. But here are two really great reasons: Controlling diabetes-related high blood pressure cuts risk for heart disease in half and lowers odds for kidney disease by 70 percent. Good blood sugar control can reduce risk for eye, kidney, and nerve damage by 40 percent or more. Read on to learn more about how to control and even reverse diabetes.