Diabetes can be a horrible illness. Insulin shots, blood sugar monitoring, heart and kidney issues, nerve pain and even loss of eyesight can result.
There is good news, however, for many who are borderline diabetic. You can actually prevent diabetes if you take the right steps!
Medical Lecturer Tom Strong explained how you can control and even prevent diabetes in an easy to understand Lunch & Learn program at Avon Place in Avon on Wed., Aug. 30.
“Obesity and diabetes go together,” explained Strong. So, lifestyle changes that reduce weight and increase exercise even in moderate amounts can prevent diabetes.
There are two types of diabetes. Both involve the body’s ability to use insulin in controlling blood sugar levels.
In Type 1 Diabetes (juvenile onset), the pancreas may simply not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar.
In Type 2 (adult onset), fatty tissue blocks the cellular keyhole for insulin to control glucose.
In all people, food turns to glucose (sugar) and insulin (produced by the pancreas) opens the door to feed the cells. When that fails, diabetes is the result.
In Type 2 Diabetes, risk can be reduced by as much as 58 per cent by simply losing 10 pounds, engaging in exercise like walking and following a healthier diet.
Type 1 Diabetes is treated with insulin injections. Type 2 can be treated with oral medication to break down insulin resistance.
“Taking medicine is NOT as efficient as avoiding the disease,” said Strong.
What if you don’t know if you have diabetes? If your blood sugar is too high, your kidneys will dilute the sugar by adding more water to the bloodstream. The Number One symptom of diabetes is extreme thirst.
How can you avoid Type 2 diabetes? First, by understanding blood sugar readings: 70-100 is normal, 110-126 is pre-diabetic and over 126 is diabetic.
A prediabetic reading can be reversed! But be aware that it can lurk quietly. That is why a blood sugar test is important.
“79 million Americans are pre-diabetic,” said Strong. “Half of adults 60 and over are pre-diabetic and can be reversed.”
Acting on your pre-diabetes is your best choice. “You don’t want to get diabetes,” said Strong. “It increases your risk of heart attack and stroke four times. It can cause nerve pain (neuropathy), eye disease and kidney failure. Dialysis centers are popping up because of the epidemic of diabetes – but you have to go three times a week and lay there for four hours while they take all your blood out and separate the urine from the blood drip by drip. You have no quality of life.
“This is a disease you don’t want to let go because of the serious complications. I am just about helping people maintain good health as they age. I don’t want to see them fall off that cliff, so I emphasis the importance of prevention.”
How to Avoid Diabetes: Lose weight if necessary; Practice proper nutrition; Exercise; Take your medication (the least effective option).
80 per cent of your blood goes to fuel your muscles, so exercise is a good way to control blood sugar.