Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body either fails to produce insulin, or the cells of the body develop insulin resistance. These conditions are respectively known as either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In addition to these, there are several other diabetic conditions that behave in similar fashion, to include gestational diabetes, congenital diabetes, diabetes cause by the heavy use of glucocorticoids, and diabetes brought on cystic fibrosis.
There are almost 200 million people in the world who suffer from one of the above forms of diabetes. The most common form is type 2, which afflicts over 95% of the people who are classified as diabetic. Yet treatments for all forms of diabetes do exist, primarily in the form of medical insulin. This is fortunate, as the medical conditions that can develop from leaving diabetes untreated are severe indeed.
Yet despite treatment being available, many type 2 diabetics end up suffering from the consequences of leaving their diabetes untreated. This is mostly due to the fact that type 2 diabetes doesn’t appear for many until adulthood. When they begin experiencing the early symptoms of diabetes – to include low blood sugar, fainting or coma, heart problems, eye damage, or renal failure, they will eventually see a doctor.
Problems develop when the newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic is resistant to the treatment required to successfully manage the condition. This can be due to either abject denial on the part of the patient, or simply benign neglect due to forgetting to take one’s medication. Too, other lifestyle changes are required above and beyond insulin treatment. Controlling one’s blood pressure, changing one’s diet, giving up tobacco and alcohol, as well as losing weight – these can all be challenging lifestyle changes in and of themselves. But for the diabetic, they are essential if one wishes to go on living, or avoid the serious complications that can develop. Such complications can include becoming blind or developing gangrene, due to a loss of sensory input in the feet, with subsequent injuries becoming infected.
Most forms of diabetes are chronic and incurable, and will require insulin treatment for life, as well as the requisite lifestyle changes. Yet type 2 diabetes can often be prevented from developing, if the condition is caught while it is still developing from what is termed Metabolic Syndrome, or pre-diabetes.
When you are pre diabetic, your body is in the process of developing insulin resistance. Your blood glucose levels will be elevated and your doctor may tell you that you have “impaired glucose tolerance”. Around 41 million Americans have this condition, and if left untreated, there is a better than even chance one will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. The same factors that give rise to type 2 diabetes also are associated with Metabolic Syndrome, to include lack of exercise, being overweight, one’s race, age and family history. A blood sugar level above 100 but below 126 automatically yields a diagnosis of impaired glucose tolerance; a reading of 126 and above typically results in a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Current studies indicate that even with pre diabetes, long term damage to the body may be occurring. The condition is not to be taken lightly. Yet those diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome should consider themselves fortunate. At this stage, type 2 diabetes can still be prevented. But major lifestyle changes will be required to keep pre diabetes from developing into type 2. One must begin regular exercise, switch to a diet high in good fats, low in processed foods, high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in simple carbs such as white flour and sugar.
The best hopes for an actual cure lie in current stem cell research. In a recent study with diabetic mice, stem cells were used to replace cells within the pancreas, which then began producing normal amounts of insulin. This, indeed, would qualify for a cure, and plans for human trials are underway. However, until such a time as a medical cure is actually available, the best cure is simply prevention.
Up to 90% of all adult-onset type 2 diabetes is preventable, as the condition is directly caused by a lifetime of poor eating and exercise habits. Over the course of years, the body develops insulin resistance. Overeating results in insulin surges. The cells compensate to the elevated levels of insulin by becoming resistant to it. The cells then require more and more insulin to drive the nutrients from food into the cells. In turn, this results in the person eating more, gaining yet more weight, and developing yet more resistance to insulin. The end result is that the patient goes from having Metabolic Syndrome, or pre-diabetes, to having full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Another factor in Americans having a higher incident of type 2 diabetes is the ratio of bad fats to good fats in our diet. Over time, the bad fats accumulate into cells that are more amendable to the development of insulin resistance than a diet that is high and rich in good fats.
Changing to a healthy diet rich in good fats can ultimately greatly assist in controlling or even eliminating the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Other dietary changes, such as switching to a low carbohydrate diet, can also reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, to include being able to go off insulin treatment. However, the person with diabetes must not get over confident. What too often happens is that the patient thinks he or she is cured, and reverts to old eating and exercise habits. Before too long, all the symptoms return. Insulin resistance is a chronic condition. While treatable, it has yet to be proven that an actual cure can be affected through nutrition alone.
Therefore, one should be leery of claims from that type 2 diabetes can be cured. While nutrition and some supplements may help to arrest type 2 diabetes, keep in mind that this is a serious, life-threatening medical condition. This is a chronic disease that can and does kill. Remember – it is your life that is on the line, so treat all claims to miraculous cures with a grain of salt – especially those that promise an easy fix without hard lifestyle changes. Amazon.com has a wide range of books available to buy which can help you find out more about diabetes.