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Diabetes

By
Lynne Brown
BSc Hons, HDE, Dip Clin Nutr

People are often shocked when they pay a visit to their doctor and discover they’re diabetic. “It happened overnight” they say.  Not very likely. Over the past few years there would have been all sorts of warning signs of insulin resistance which probably went unnoticed. When it comes to Type 2 diabetes there is much to be said for prevention and diabetes happens to be one of the most preventable diseases around.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

How did it happen?

For many people who become diabetic in their adult years it’s simply a case of having made the wrong food choices while growing up and leading a sedentary lifestyle with no exercise. Our nation seems to eat far too many simple carbohydrates or high-glycemic foods. These foods cause blood sugars to rise very rapidly and stimulate the release of insulin by the pancreas. This sudden rise in blood sugar is followed just as suddenly by a drop, making us feel hungry again, so we grab another high glycemic snack and the process starts all over again. After years of being over-stimulated so often, the beta cells of the pancreas become worn out and are unable to produce levels of insulin required to deal with the high levels of sugar. Eventually there is insufficient insulin to unlock the cells in your body to allow the glucose in. You have “sugar overload” but no energy and the metabolic syndrome has become diabetes.

Symptoms

What was your reason for visiting your doctor? Were you feeling tired all the time, even directly after eating a meal? When cells can’t get glucose and are deprived of energy, physical and mental fatigue is the result.

Perhaps you were paying too many visits to the bathroom? When the body is awash in blood sugar your kidneys will try to flush the excess out of your system by increasing urine production.

As a result your body will urge you to replace the fluids you lose, leading to another symptom of diabetes, an unquenchable thirst.

Perhaps you were snacking all day and still felt hungry? This is because your cells are starving and will signal the body’s appetite system to call for more food.
Perhaps your vision was blurry?

Or perhaps you were experiencing frequent urinary tract infections or in women, frequent vaginal yeast infections? This is because the bacteria that cause these infections actually feed on glucose of which there is now an abundance in your body.
Any of these symptoms may prompt your doctor to do a simple blood or urine test to check for diabetes.

Treatment

It is my opinion that diabetics rely too much on medication to treat their diabetes. Some even continue to make poor food choices and then simply offset their increased sugar levels with more insulin. This is only worsening their condition, and constant damage is taking place.

I believe that changing the very habits that brought on the disease in the first place is the best offence against the devastating complications of the disease and that diabetes can be fully controlled with diet and exercise.

Dietary changes

Once we understand that we need to treat the underlying cause of most diabetes, namely insulin resistance, then it becomes clear that carbohydrates are the main concern here. Diabetics need to get onto the latest Low Gycemic Load diet, a healthy diet for everyone and especially perfect for diabetics. When low-glycemic carbohydrates are combined with good proteins and good fats in a balanced meal, the blood sugar does not spike. This is critical in the control of diabetes and can make one’s body more sensitive to one’s own insulin and hopefully supplemental insulin dosages can be gradually reduced (only under supervision of a health practitioner).

Supplements

To lower glucose levels a diabetic needs about 50 g of fibre daily which is impossible to achieve through diet alone, so using a natural fibre supplement such as AIM’s Herbal Fibre Blend od Garden of Life’s Super Seed, is essential.

Chromium and vanadium are two micronutrients that have been shown to significantly increase insulin sensitivity in supplement form. There are supplements such as Glucochrom that contain both of these.

However, without exercise, not even the correct diet and supplements will help. Remember too that excess body weight boosts the need for insulin, so lose it!

Complications

The damage done to blood vessels due to high blood sugar levels can result in cardiovascular disease, kidney and nerve damage, eye and foot problems and sexual dysfunction and its important to take steps to prevent or minimize these complications. The hemoglobin A1c test is a useful blood test that will tell you how well you are doing in the prevention department. This test reveals the amount of sugar found in a red blood cell and since our red blood cells remain in the body for approximately 140 days, the test is a good indicator of how well a patient is truly controlling his or her diabetes. By keeping this reading below 7 percent, risk of developing a secondary complication related to diabetes is minimal.

Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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