December 2, 2009 by Isagenix Nutritional Sciences
Before today’s kindergartners reach their college years, the number of people with diabetes is expected to at least double and the cost of diabetes care to at least triple in the U.S.—that is if we are to believe the conservative estimates of a recent study and consequent media reports (see here and here).
As long as overweight or obese trends continue, then, according to the study, “between 2009 and 2034, the number of people with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes will increase from 23.7 million to 44.1 million” and “diabetes-related spending is expected to increase from $113 billion to $336 billion.”
These numbers are a tragedy at our doorstep. A rise in diabetes ultimately means more suffering and more early deaths. The disease has already been recognized as one of the top 10 killers in the U.S. for more than half a century. It’s also responsible for bringing about blindness, kidney failure, birth defects and foot and leg amputations for thousands annually.
A broadened perspective paints an ever-grimmer picture of the future. It would be naïve to focus solely on diabetes when the metabolic condition characterized by elevated blood sugar has been consistently linked as a risk factor to other diseases.
Each individual, for example, who is counted among the study’s reported diabetes doubling effect will also double his or her risk of developing coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease. Further adding to the tally, as reported previously, a combination of obesity and diabetes leads to a four-fold increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If the rise in diabetes cases alone is believed to be serious and costly, then it’s difficult to imagine the damage resulting from a parallel increase of these other devastating diseases.
A forecast of epidemics that lie ahead, once again, must turn our attention to the area of preventive health. The effort to avoid this situation must begin now if it is to happen at all, especially when it can be accomplished through low-cost measures that can be applied by anyone.
Three Steps to Beat Diabetes Epidemic
Step 1: Getting Diagnosed
Beating diabetes starts with a short visit to the doctor’s office. Regrettably, many fail in achieving this step. An approximate 30 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed, according to the most recent data from National Health and Examination Surveys.
Diabetes diagnosis is simply a matter of recognizing classic signs and symptoms—such as frequent urination or heavy thirst—and measuring for persistent elevated blood glucose. The diagnosis is often made via an oral glucose tolerance test. The test involves a fasting patient drinking a sugar (glucose) solution as blood sugar is monitored periodically. If, after two hours, blood sugar continues to be above 140 mg/dL, then impaired glucose tolerance is diagnosed; if the levels exceed 200 mg/dL, then diabetes is diagnosed.
Once diagnosed, a patient can start to take action to maintain or improve his or her health. Making lifestyle changes are the most effective way to manage diabetes, one being glycemic control.
Step 2: Glycemic Control
Glycemic control is the practice of keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range. For a person with diabetes, tight glycemic control is vital for preventing further complications. The self-monitoring of blood glucose is not a difficult task. It can be performed easily enough with a portable, battery-operated glucose meter. A close eye on blood sugar helps a person assess the effects of diet, exercise and medication.
Glycemic control isn’t just useful to people with diabetes, however. It is good advice for everyone. Since glycemic
control can be helpful in managing weight, it can also help guard against insulin resistance, which leads to reduced risk of diabetes.
At its core, getting off the blood sugar roller coaster involves exercise, losing weight, eating balanced meals that are lower in carbohydrates, keeping to low-glycemic index foods (think whole wheat bread and sweet potatoes versus white bread and Russet potatoes), and consuming plenty of dietary fiber daily.
Step 3: Diabetes and Obesity Awareness
To make a dent in the end-figures of diabetes, a strong and continued message of awareness must resonate across the entire U.S. All that’s necessary is another look at the number above: 44.1 million people.
As much as possible, the primary call to action must be to lose weight. Being overweight or obese is the major risk factor in type 2 diabetes. As a matter of interest, earlier this year European researchers discovered a new molecule called CXCL5 that may be the cause of insulin resistance. It is theorized that the molecule is produced in overabundance only in cases of overweight or obesity.
Losing weight is no simple task. Our modern conveniences make it all too easy to live a sedentary lifestyle with calorie-rich foods like potato chips always within reach. Most people who attempt dieting often fail and, in addition, make the situation worse by not receiving adequate nutrition.
Adopting a healthy weight management system is a matter of finding a disciplined, nutrition-focused program and a community of support. Isagenix is a company with the right approach.