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Diabetes: Why It Matters

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

There is no doubt about it. Diabetes is a serious disease! While Type 1 Diabetes is an inheritable, autoimmune disease that affect the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, Type 2 Diabetes is a largely preventable disease that occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, meaning it does not respond to the body’s nature insulin stores. As a result, the pancreas produces more and more insulin, a key enzyme that the body uses to absorb blood sugar into your cells and use it for energy. Over time, the pancreas becomes less able to keep up with this demand and can result in the development of pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

So why does this matter? Well, the disease of Type 2 diabetes puts the body at a greater risk of developing health outcomes such as stroke, heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease and/or failure, and amputations!

In my medical practice, I spend a lot of time discussing primary and secondary prevention because lifestyle is so very important for preventing and treating metabolic diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity). This is NOT about creating shame in patients. It is about EMPOWERING them to seize control over their lives and health so they can live in abundance.

So, what are some things that you can do to lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes or treat it when you have it?

- Eat intentionally. A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and high fiber foods with low intake of saturated fats is an important first step in disease prevention AND treatment. Our food is our FIRST medicine and this is especially true for diabetes prevention and treatment. If you are confused about how to approach diet changes, speak to a reputable dietician who understands how to apply wholistic eating to disease prevention and treatment.

- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases your risk of developing diabetes. Why? Because excess body fat, especially when it is stored around the abdomen, can increase the body’s resistance to insulin via a complex process involving the liver.

- Exercise regularly. Exercise is a form of medicine itself. Moderate physical exercise on most days of the week will help manage weight, reduce blood sugar, improve blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol. Exercise also is a great way to help reduce stress as well. Read this blog, Stress Stinks! for more details:

- Stop smoking. The nicotine in tobacco promotes insulin resistance, which again, can lead to the development of diabetes.

- Limit your intake of alcohol. Because of the high carbohydrate load, alcohol can lead to weight can but can also increase your blood pressure and increase triglyceride levels (a form of cholesterol related to carbohydrate intake).

You CAN create solutions in your life for prevention and treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. Talk to your physician or primary care provider for further details about how to lower your specific risks and/or developing a treatment plan that will lower your risks of having further negative impacts on your health and wellness. Until next time, BE WELL!

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