Our body and more specifically, our cells, rely on a single simple sugar called glucose for the body energy needs. The body then helps make sure the glucose levels in our bloodstream remain stable. When our body eats carbohydrates, those that are easily digested go straight into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. If there is a severe increase in glucose levels in the bloodstream, then the pancreas is signaled to increase insulin production. The insulin cells then absorb up the glucose. The insulin is very imperative because, without it, the glucose cells float around in the body and are not able to go into the cells that need them.
How Does Diabetes Occur?
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to make enough insulin, or it cannot properly use the insulin it already has.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas and makes it unable to produce insulin. 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes | Adult-Onset Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes used to be found only in adults, but with the rise of obesity in children, type 2 diabetes has now become relatively prevalent in both children and adults.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Believe it or not, behavior and lifestyle factors can play a huge role in preventing type 2 diabetes, even if they have genetically run in your family. In a study conducted by Nurse’s Health, 90% of type 2 diabetes in women could be attributed to the following things: smoking, abstaining from alcohol, lack of exercise, and a less-than-healthy diet.
A similar study performed on men and found the following things: A western diet combined with excess weight and lack of exercise leads to a dramatic increase in risk for type 2 diabetes. These results came from a study conducted by the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
The Diabetic Prevention Program performed a study on type 2 diabetes prevention. In the group that stuck with a weight loss and exercise program, 58% of the group had fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, even after three years, than those who lived their version of a healthy life. These same results were seen in a study in China and Finland.
Basic Steps to Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes
- Keep your weight in a controlled range and within a healthy BMI range. If your BMI is not in a healthy range, do everything you can to lose that weight. Individuals who are overweight are 20-40 times more likely to have diabetes.
- Start getting daily exercise, even if this means just going for a walk
- Choose real foods in fruit, vegetables, and grains in place of processed foods
- Cut out sugary drinks and drink water and tea and even coffee instead
- Choose healthy fat such as grass-fed butter, instead margarine and other things with Trans fats that are often found in packaged foods such as crackers, cookies, baked goods, etc
- Limit red meat and avoid processed meat such as salami and pepperoni, hot dogs and deli meat
- Quit smoking
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*Age Management, Functional Medicine and Integrated Medicine is an evolving medical specialty, currently there is no Board Certification for these specialties. Doctors from many different specialties practice this specialty.