Diabetes Mellitus

by Disease, Professionals

Diabetes is a severe health condition that can cause life-altering and  even life-threatening problems, such as slow wound healing and nerve  disorders.  It can also complicate problems in muscles, bones, and  joints.  Diabetes results from an excessive buildup of glucose in your  bloodstream.  Glucose, or blood sugar, which the body gets from food and  also manufactures in the liver and muscles, is a substance the body  uses for energy and nutrition.  To control glucose levels in your blood,  the body uses insulin, a substance produced by the pancreas.  An  imbalance in this system can cause pre-diabetes  or diabetes.  In most people, normal blood glucose levels range from 80  to 120.  The levels vary depending on the time of day and how long it  has been since you’ve eaten.  Levels can go as high as 180 within two  hours after a meal.

There are two main types of the disease.   Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes,  usually begins in childhood to early adulthood.  It results from  destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.  When the body  destroys these cells, insulin levels in the blood become too low to  properly manage blood sugar.  Type 2 diabetes is also called adult-onset  or non-insulin-dependent diabetes.  This condition results from insulin  resistance – the inability of body tissues to properly utilize insulin  produced by the pancreas.  The pancreas compensates by producing more  insulin, but eventually it cannot keep up with the demand, especially  after meals.  Obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise predispose you to  developing type 2 diabetes.  A less common form of the disease is  called gestational diabetes.  It occurs, secondary to hormonal changes,  in pregnant women during the late stages of pregnancy and usually  resolves after the birth of the baby.  It is important to remember,  however, that gestational diabetes makes a woman more likely to develop  type 2 diabetes later in life.

With diabetes, uncontrolled  glucose levels can lead to serious problems with vision, kidney  function, nerve dysfunction, and blood vessels, including heart attack  and stroke.  In fact, people with diabetes have approximately twice the  risk of stroke and heart attack faced by the general public.  In a  nutshell, to manage glucose levels, you should exercise regularly, eat a  healthful balanced diet, and maintain a healthy body weight.  Physical  activity helps control blood glucose levels in both healthy adults and  in diabetes.  Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, dancing, and  riding a bicycle, appears to be most beneficial.  What that does is  raise your heart rate, helping to not only control blood glucose but  also prevent heart attack and stroke.  You can get some exercise by  house cleaning or doing yard work, such as gardening.  Physical activity  helps diabetic patients maintain a healthy body weight, helps insulin  lower the blood glucose levels, and gives patients more energy.  Before  you start an exercise program, consult with your doctor to make sure  that the exercise program is tailored to fit your specific needs.

It’s  also important to eat foods that are generally low in fat – and when  fats are eaten, aim for “good” ones, such as those found in olive oil,  fish, and other products.  People with diabetes don’t need to eat  special foods but should avoid foods that contain large amounts of  saturated and/or tans fats.  They should also avoid eating too many  processed sugars, but instead choose complex carbohydrates such as those  found in fruits and vegetables.  The benefits of this type of healthy  diet can extend beyond blood sugar control and diabetes prevention to  help prevent heart attack and stroke.  Read up on the Mediterranean diet  for a great way to eat properly.  Research shows eating like this will  prevent many chronic diseases.

Doctors fear type 2 diabetes will become the most prevalent  chronic disease in the near future overtaking heart disease, stroke,  and cancer.  The most fortunate aspect of this dilemma is diabetes is  very preventable if we just eat better and exercise regularly.  Try this  simple step: eliminate processed sugars including soft drinks, candy,  chips, and cereals.  Your pancreas will thank you!
I pray you make healthy choices and help this world eliminate many of these lifestyle diseases.  Keep up the good work!
Matthew Taylor   Chiropractor

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