World Diabetes Day is today. The fact that the logo says world means to me that this disease is everywhere. So I thought I would include my story, because it is about prevention rather than treatment and could be eradicated with proper care of the body. According to Dr. David Katz’s excellent book, Disease Proof, which I will be reviewing later this month, “A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, many forms of cancer, and premature death.” (p. 171) Conversely, when you have regular exercise, the risks for these are reduced, even when there is a genetic predisposition.
Additionally, according to Dr. Katz, veggies should be half your plate, whole grains or starchy veggies 1/4 your plate, and lean protein the other quarter. So Veggies are really important and I recommend eating as many organically as possible.
In my family, there seems to be a predisposition to diabetes: my mother, my grandmother, and my older brother (pre-diabetes). I decided to be pro-active and have a blood test for my blood sugar levels. When I was younger I tended towards hypoglycemia, which can also lead to diabetes since it is at the other end of the blood sugar continuum. When I became a vegetarian and began to study nutrition and improve my diet, the hypoglycemia was no longer an issue. But diabetes is still part of my background, so a blood test is important.
What the results showed was that I was not diabetic or even pre-diabetic, but close to it, so I obtained a blood sugar test kit and have been moderating my intake of carbs and meeting with the pharmacist where I obtained my kit. She has special certification in diabetes and her information has been invaluable.
Since I also want to lose the 8-10 pounds I gained during menopause, I am also increasing my exercise to more aerobic activities, per the counselor’s advice. While I have not yet lost the weight, I do feel better with the tweaking in my vegetarian diet and changes in my exercise plan, so these are the most important steps for me, because taking care of myself is easier when I already feel healthy. According to all that I have read, Type 2 diabetes is preventable and preferable to being on insulin, which has its own deleterious side effects over time.
Here is what Sara Gottfried writes about diabetes in her book, The Hormone Cure, which I reviewed recently. Here is thelionk: (https://www.menupause.info/archives/15188) This is a direct quote from p. 163:
Diabetes involves insulin and its ability to regulate blood sugar. Excess weight and lack of exercise can lead to high levels of insulin. Cells that get too much insulin can become resistant to it. ….higher insulin creates higher estrogen, which can lead to higher insulin and insulin resistance, which tends to make you gain weight, which leads to making more estrogen…..
Gottfried goes onto explain this in more detail, but the point I want to make is that this vicious cycle leads to a downward spiral that could result in diabetes, and since diabetes has been on the rise according to Gottfried, it is a major concern.
Here are some stats from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/ to show you that diabetes is a serious problem in our country of abundance, maybe too much of foods that are not healthful.
Statistics About Diabetes : Data from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014 (released June 10, 2014)
Overall Numbers, Diabetes and Prediabetes
- Prevalence: In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes.
- In 2010 the figures were 25.8 million and 8.3%.
- Undiagnosed: Of the 29.1 million, 21.0 million were diagnosed, and 8.1 million were undiagnosed.
- In 2010 the figures were 18.8 million and 7.0 million.
- Prevalence in Seniors: The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.9%, or 11.8 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
- New Cases: The incidence of diabetes in 2012 was 1.7 million new diagnoses/year; in 2010 it was 1.9 million.
- Prediabetes: In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes; this is up from 79 million in 2010.
- Deaths: Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, with 69,071 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 234,051 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.
Even if diabetes does not run in your family, have a blood test to rule out prediabetes so you can make a plan that includes a wholesome diet and regular exercise. You owe it to yourself!