Tag Archives: Diabetes

World Diabetes Day

14 Nov

November 14th is World Diabetes Day.  The International Diabetes Federation (the sponsoring organization) wants to raise awareness of diabetes and how to prevent Type 2 and gestational diabetes.  Type 1, also known as Juvenile Diabetes, is not preventable.  Today, three-hundred and sixty-six million people around the world have diabetes and by 2030 it’s estimated that the world will see 552 million cases.  The scarier statistic is that more people than not go undiagnosed. 8.3% of Americans have diabetes and they estimate that there are nearly 7 million undiagnosed type 2 Americans.

Being stuck on a regular basis is no one’s idea of fun!

What is Diabetes?

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.  While all have distinctive characteristics, they all involve insulin and blood sugar.  Insulin is a hormone that is required to properly process carbs (including sugar) that is found in food.

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is the least common type of diabetes, affecting 5-10% of all diabetes patients.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs in childhood.  Type 1 causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack the insulin-producing cells located in the pancreas and destroys them.  People with type 1 must replace the insulin that is no longer produced in the pancreas.  The only way to replace insulin is through injections or a pump that is constantly hooked up to the patient.  Type 1 patients need to consistently checking their blood sugar levels throughout the day to make sure they haven’t injected too much or too little insulin.

There is no cure and no way to prevent type 1 and it hasn’t been linked to diet or lifestyle choices.  Children who are diagnosed with type 1 will have diabetes for their entire natural lives.

Type 2

Type 2 is the most common and well-known type of diabetes.  It used to be call adult-onset, but that has since been done away with since more and more children are being diagnosed with type 2 (in my opinion due to the rampant childhood obesity epidemic).  Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes insulin-resistant.  The body no longer uses insulin efficiently and blood sugar levels rise uncontrollably.  In response, the body pumps out more insulin and after years of this vicious cycle, the pancreas eventually gives up on trying to produce the abundant amount of insulin necessary to control blood sugar levels.

Leading a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, however it should be noted that not everyone who develops it is overweight or fits the stereotype.

Unlike type 1, type 2 can be managed with lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating, losing excess weight and exercising regularly.  If that does not work, then patients will be put on some types of medications.  If all else fails, then type 2 patients may need to take insulin injections.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes is hard on both mother and child

Gestational diabetes is similar to type 2 in that the body becomes resistant to insulin, however it only occurs when a woman is pregnant.  If a woman develops gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, it generally disappears after the birth of her baby.  It should be noted that a woman who develops gestational diabetes is at a higher risk of developing type 2 later in life.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Type 1 symptoms generally come on quickly and it makes the patient so very sick, that it can be hard to miss, especially in children.  But in gestational and type 2 diabetes, the symptoms may be subtler and come on more slowly. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Increased thirst

Risk Factors for Diabetes

As I said earlier, type 1 is an autoimmune disease and there is nothing that can predict if one will develop type 1 (although having a family member with type 1, does raise your risk).

Type 2 has many risk factors that not so coincidentally also lead to other large health problems.  They include:

  • Obesity
  • Diet and physical inactivity
  • Increasing Age
  • Insulin resistance
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Ethnicity (African Americans have a higher risk for developing the disease)

Ouch!

Complications of Diabetes

There are many potential complications of diabetes if left untreated.  They include: cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, nerve disease, blindness, and women with gestation diabetes may have children who are large for their gestational age.

A Word on Prediabetes

An estimated 78 million Americans have what is known as Prediabetes. Before type 2 diabetics were type 2, they were almost always “prediabetic” which means that their fasting blood glucose levels were higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic.  Some studies are showing evidence of long-term damage to the body occurring even in the stage of prediabetes.  The good news if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, you can take steps to reverse the trend and prevent ever developing type 2.

Even shedding 5-10% of your body weight will dramatically reduce your chances of developing type 2

Preventing Diabetes

As I said earlier, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.  But there are many things that you can do to prevent type 2. You’ve heard it over and over again on my blog.  Eating right and getting plenty of exercise is crucial for your overall health and well-being and it can also help reduce your risk for diabetes.  If you’re overweight or obese, and especially if you have a family member with type 2, it’s important to shed a little bit of that excess weight.  Even just 5-10% of your body weight will make an enormous difference in reducing your risk of developing not only diabetes, but many other diseases associated with obesity.  A study showed that regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.

Take steps today to protect yourself from developing type 2, and see your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms listed above, if it goes undiagnosed it can cause irreversible damage to your body.  For more information please visit the International Diabetes Federation or the American Diabetes Association.

Keep on Sweating!

The State of the Union

24 Jan

No I’m not talking about the actual State of the Union which was broadcasted tonight (although I am a political junkie), but I’m referring to the health of our Union. I thought I’d spin off of President Obama’s speech tonight and address some of the top health issues facing America this year.

Smoking/Tobacco

If everyone knows these days that smoking kills, I don’t understand how 46 million or 20.6% of Americans still smoke.  It perplexes me that the tobacco industry is STILL gaining new customers everyday.  Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.  Smoking accounts for approximately 443,000 deaths, or 1 of every 5 deaths, in the United States each year.

80% of smokers begin smoking before they even turn 18. 17.2% of high school students smoke.  Clearly our anti-smoking/tobacco campaigns are not resonating with our students.

Secondhand smoke is even more deadly for those around you than it is to yourself.  Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of those chemicals are toxic and about 70 are known to cause or contribute to cancer.  So think about that before you light up around those you love (and strangers!!! we don’t like it either!).

Smoking and tobacco products lead to many diseases including many cancers, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke to name a few.  It’s a nasty and disgusting habit that you should drop…like yesterday!

Diabetes

Diabetes affects 25.3 million Americans or 8.3% of the population. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness. Diabetes is also a major cause of heart disease and stroke.  Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.  There were 1.9 million new cases of Diabetes last year alone.  Type 2 is a largely preventable disease. It is mainly brought on by lifestyle choices such as obesity due to inactivity and improper food choices.  But is true that genetics do make you predisposed to the disease. So if it runs in your family, it’s even more important for you to watch your weight and what you eat!  It is estimated that 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Left unchecked, pre-diabetes leads to Type 2 Diabetes.

Obesity Crisis

34% of American Adults (considered 20 & older) are obese and an additional 34% of adults are overweight.  This means that 7 in 10 American adults are either overweight or obese. Those are not encouraging odds.  The CDC defines overweight as an individual whose BMI is between 25 & 29.9. Obese is anyone with a BMI greater than 30.  They have recently added Severely Obese and Morbidly Obese to accommodate the growing number of extraordinarily obese individuals in the United States.  We spend an estimated 150 BILLION dollars every year on increased medical bills due to obesity.  This means these costs can be averted if we fix our health and a reduction in spending in healthcare results! 🙂  Now wouldn’t that be nice?  Obesity leads to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea, and death among many other horrible ailments.

We as a nation set goals in the Healthy People 2010 campaign.  Not one state met the goal to reduce their obesity rates to 15% by 2010. In fact, the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30% increased to 12 states (from 9 in 2009 and 0 in 2000).

About 1 in 3 children today are either obese or overweight.  Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity in children has tripled.  Approximately 17% of children are obese, not overweight, obese.  Overweight kids have a 70-80% chance of staying overweight for their entire lives if they do not correct the course early.  Overweight/obese children will battle more with their weight for the rest of their lives compared to their normal weight peers. Children are developing adult diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.  The OECD projects that by 2020, 20% of girls aged 3-17 and 30% of boys aged 3-17 will be obese.

These are scary statistics I know, but together we can combat and reverse the obesity epidemic.  Will you  help me end it?

Bottom Line

Think about this.  Of the 571,950 cancer deaths that occurred in 2011, the American Cancer society estimates that one third wouldn’t have happened if no one smoked. Another third of the deaths could’ve been prevented by proper weight loss, diet, and exercise.

I admit that there are days when I would I like to be lazy all day, lounge on the couch, and stuff my face with bon bons (okay maybe not, but I’m  making a point). But my health is more important to me than the short satisfaction of these activities (or non-activities).  My generation (gen Y) is the first generation projected to have a shorter life expectancy than our parents, even with all the medical advances!  This projection is driven by lifestyle choices made by Americans today.

You have to make a choice.  I choose to still do the things I enjoy, like watching TV, but I walk up and down my stairs during commercial breaks. Instead of sitting, I choose to stand.  I have cherries instead of cherry pie.  You have to decide what your priorities are. It’s so much more than just about how you look, it’s about what kind of life do you want to lead? What type of role model do you want to set for your children?  No one said it was going to be easy. It’s going to be a tough and lifelong road, but I believe this great nation can do it!

We must end this obesity crisis, but we have to do it together.

Keep Sweating!

~Coach Lindsey

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