Monthly Archives: December 2016

Why You Should Stop Taking Drugs

If you are diabetic and fail to control your blood glucose levels, you will most likely end up with several debilitating health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, diabetic neuropathy, digestive problems, blindness, or a variety of infections.

Many of these conditions can be fatal.

So taking drugs to manage your diabetes would seem like a smart thing to do.

Not so… for several very good reasons.

Survival rates using diabetes medications

According to a research paper Benefits of Diabetes Drugs Dubious, published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in December 2014, no doctor-prescribed diabetes drug has been shown to save the life of a diabetic. There is no proof that they prevent heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness or other diabetes complications such as the need for amputations.

High blood glucose levels are not the same as diabetes. They are signs of diabetes but they are not the disease itself. The problem is: diabetes drugs target blood sugar levels… they do not treat diabetes. But very few people die of high levels of glucose in their blood.

However they do die of the damage caused by diabetes: heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and raging infections… and diabetes drugs do nothing for them.

A peer-reviewed meta-study Comparison of Clinical Outcomes and Adverse Events Associated with Glucose-lowering Drugs in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016, showed that there was no increase in survival rates among type 2 diabetics who took diabetes medications.

The drugs failed to prevent heart attacks and strokes. They also failed to reduce all-cause mortality for these patients.

The study examined nine classes of diabetes drugs, including insulin, comparing the drugs to a placebo. The researchers reviewed more than 300 randomized clinical trials covering nearly 120,000 patients before reaching their conclusions.

Dangers of diabetes drugs

Drugs for diabetes are dangerous.

Their side effects include cardiovascular reactions, flu-like symptoms and dizziness. They have been linked to muscle and stomach pain, diarrhoea and anaemia. In addition, if diabetics are not careful, these drugs can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels.

The sad thing is that many patients take two or even three of these drugs at the same time, all prescribed by their local doctor or diabetes clinic.

But, instead of reducing deaths, this multi-drug regime increases death rates.

A research paper Effects of Intensive Glucose Lowering in Type 2 Diabetes, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008, concluded that intense efforts to lower blood glucose with drugs resulted in a 22% higher rate of death from all causes. The same study showed that deaths from heart disease went up by 35%.

So what to do?

Reversing diabetes

The fact is that there is no need, unless your diabetes is far advanced, to use these drugs at all. You can reverse your diabetes using diet alone, perhaps with a little extra exercise thrown in.

There is no cure for diabetes, ie once you have it you will always have it. So when I say you can reverse your diabetes, I mean you can beat the nasty consequences the disease brings such as the cardiovascular problems, strokes, kidney disease and so on.

The beating-diabetes diet is simple. It requires but a little discipline.

You can reverse type 2 diabetes by eating foods that are (1) low in sugar, (2) low in fat, (3) low in salt, (4) high in fibre and that (5) are digested slowly. The easiest way to do this is by concentrating on natural, unprocessed foods that are mostly plants. You also need to avoid all dairy products and eggs, and to drink plenty of water.

The fundamental cause of type 2 diabetes is fat blocking the receptors in your muscle cells, leaving glucose (produced by the digestive process) and insulin (produced by the pancreas) swirling around in your bloodstream. This condition is called insulin resistance.

The diet works because it minimises your intake of fat so that, after a month or so, the fat blocking the receptors in your muscle cells will have disappeared.

Unblocking the receptors ensures that the insulin can do its job of opening those receptors to get the glucose out of your bloodstream and into cells, thus ‘reversing’ your diabetes.

As well as following the beating-diabetes diet, you should also take up some mild exercise, such as walking, gardening, swimming, dancing and so on. This will help stimulate your muscle cells to use the energy (glucose) floating around in your blood stream.

In addition, you can give the beating-diabetes diet a boost in several ways:

Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D3 have been linked to both pre-diabetes and full-blown diabetes. Sadly, most people have a vitamin D deficiency.

A research paper entitled Lipoprotein lipase links vitamin D, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional epidemiological study, undertaken by Chinese researchers and published in January 2013 in Cardiovascular Diabetology, showed that even a minor deficiency in vitamin D3 can increase the risk of diabetes by more than 90%.

So how do you up your intake of vitamin D3?

You can get sufficient vitamin D3 by standing around for just 10 minutes or so a day in the midday sun… provided you only wear bathing togs (even in winter) and the sun is actually shining (a rarity where I live).

You could also get plenty of vitamin D by eating oily fish (tuna, sardines, mackerel and salmon), free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, liver and dairy products. But these foods contain copious amounts of fats which you need to avoid if you are to reverse your diabetes.

For diabetics, therefore, the best way to get sufficient vitamin D3 is to take a supplement. The recommended dosage is 8,000IUs (international units) a day.

Guava

The leaves, stems and flesh (but not the skins) of the tropical guava fruit block the digestion of carbohydrates which reduces spikes in blood glucose. Consuming pealed guava also makes the development of insulin resistance less likely and helps improve the blood sugar levels of diabetics.

If fresh guava is available in your locality you should eat it daily. If not, you can get guava tea made from dried leaves at your local health food store or online. A cup a day (or more) is highly recommended.

Vanadium

Vanadium is a trace mineral that mimics the action of insulin.

Vanadium reduces spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels by helping to move blood glucose into muscle cells and by inhibiting the absorption of glucose from the gut.

In a study described in Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures, a book published in 1994, diabetics took daily supplements of vanadium… their average blood glucose levels dropped by 10% in only three weeks.

You can use vanadium by taking it as a supplement… 500mcg three times a day… but:

Caution: do not exceed 10mg a day.

Berberine

Berberine is a plant nutrient found in the roots, rhizomes, stems and bark of medicinal herbs such as barberry, tree turmeric, Oregon grape, goldenseal, yellowroot, Chinese goldthread, prickly poppy, and Californian poppy.

In the 1980s, Chinese doctors discovered that berberine can normalize blood glucose levels. It does so by decreasing insulin resistance, by decreasing the production of sugar in the liver, and by increasing the ability to breakdown glucose inside cells.

Diabetes in Senior Citizens

Your body obtains glucose from the food you take in, the liver and muscles also supply your body with glucose. Blood transports the glucose to cells throughout the body. Insulin, a chemical hormone, helps the body’s cells to take in the glucose. Insulin is made by the beta cells of the pancreas and then released into the bloodstream.

If the body does not make enough insulin or the insulin does not work the way it should glucose is not able to enter the body’s cells. Instead the glucose must remain in the blood causing an increase in blood glucose level. This high blood glucose level causes pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Pre-diabetes means that blood glucose level is higher than average but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Having pre-diabetic glucose levels increases risk for developing type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke. Still, if you have pre-diabetes there are many ways to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Moderate physical activity and a healthy diet accompanied by modest weight loss can prevent type 2 diabetes and help a person with pre-diabetes to return to normal blood glucose levels.

Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, being very hungry, feeling tired, weight loss without trying, the appearance of sores that slowly heal, having dry and itchy skin, loss of feeling or tingling in feet, and blurry eyesight. Still, some people with diabetes do not experience any of these symptoms.

Diabetes can be developed at any age. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In this type of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas are no longer able to produce insulin because they have been destroyed by the body’s immune system.

Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non insulin-dependent diabetes. It may be developed at any age, including childhood. In this type of diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not interact properly with insulin. At first, the pancreas is able to produce more insulin to keep up with the increased demand for insulin. However, it loses the ability to make up for the body’s cells inability to interact properly with insulin with time. The insulin is unable to help the cells take in glucose, this results in high blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. An unhealthy weight contributed by a high calorie diet and lack of physical activity increases the risk for developing this form of diabetes.

African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asian and Pacific Islanders are at especially high risk for developin Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes refers to the development of diabetes in the late stages of pregnancy. It is caused by hormones associated with pregnancy and a shortage of insulin. This form of diabetes goes away after the baby is born, but puts both the mother and child at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes in later life.

Diabetes is a serious disease and when it is not well controlled, it damages the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, gums, and teeth. Having diabetes makes one more than twice as likely as someone without diabetes to have heart disease or stroke.

It is important to keep blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control to avoid the serious complications associated with diabetes. Taking steps to control diabetes can make a large impact in the one’s health.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Diabetes is a serious disease with no cure. Controlling blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol can help prevent or delay complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease and stroke. Much research is being done to find ways to treat diabetes.

Risk Factors

Type 1 diabetes is classified as an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is the result of the body’s own immune system, which fights infections, turning against part of the body.

Currently, it is unclear what exactly causes the body’s immune system to turn on itself attacking and destroying the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. There are genetic and environmental factors, such as viruses, involved in the development of type 1 diabetes. Researchers are working to identify these factors and prevent type 1 diabetes in those at risk.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight, high blood presure, and abnormal cholestorol levels. Being overweight can contribute to one’s body using insulin correctly.

Other risk factors include:

  • Having a family history of diabetes, perhaps in a parent, brother, or sister.
  • Being of African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino descent.
  • Having a history of heart disease.
  • Having a history of gestational diabetes.
  • An inactive lifestyle

Prevention

Modest changes in lifestyle can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those at risk. Here are some helpful tips.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight has many negative effects on one’s health and can prevent the body from properly using insulin. It also can contribute to high blood pressure. Research shows that even a modest amount of weight loss can reduce one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Make healthy food choices. What we put into our bodies has big consequences in our health and how our body functions. Eating healthy helps control body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Be active. Find a physical activity you enjoy and that gets your heart pumping, perhaps walking briskly, dancing, or yard work. Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week – research shows that this helps to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Diabetes is sometimes referred to as a “silent” disease because people may not show any signs or symptoms. Symptoms of diabetes include: excessive thirst frequent urination, being very hungry, feeling tired, weight loss without trying, the appearance of sores that slowly heal, having dry and itchy skin, loss of feeling or tingling in feet, and blurry eyesight. Still, some people with diabetes do not experience any of these symptoms.

Symptoms for type 2 diabetes develop gradually, while type 1 diabetes develops more quickly.

Doctors use different tests to diagnose diabetes. Tests to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes include the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). A random plasma glucose test allows doctors to diagnose only diabetes.

If any of these tests show that you might have diabetes, your doctor will need to repeat the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test on a different day to confirm the diagnosis.

Because type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, doctors recommend that anyone 45 years of age or older be tested for diabetes. If you are 45 or older and overweight, getting tested is strongly recommended.

Older adults are at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, particularly if they are overweight. Doctors recommend that those over 45 years of age be tested for diabetes especially if they are overweight.

Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to pain, disability, and death. Sometimes people have symptoms but do not suspect diabetes. They delay scheduling a checkup because they do not feel sick.

Despite the risk of diabetes due to age and weight status, people often delay having a checkup because they do not feel any symptoms. Sometimes, people experience symptoms do not realize that it may be diabetes. Still, diabetes is a serious disease which, if left untreated, may lead to hazardous complications and even death.

Often times, people are not diagnosed with diabetes until they experience one of its complications, such as heart trouble or difficulty seeing. Early detection can prevent or delay such complications, making checkups all the more important.

Treatment

There is no cure for diabetes, but with careful control of blood glucose level, as well as cholesterol levels and blood pressure, it can be managed.

People with type 1 diabetes use insulin injections, by shots or an insulin pump, to control their blood glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes use oral medications, insulin, or both to control their blood glucose levels. In some cases of type 2 diabetes, a person can use diet and exercise alone to maintain appropriate blood glucose levels.

Managing your blood glucose includes several lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Follow a meal plan that makes sense for you and how your body responds to the different foods that you eat.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily life.
  • Take the appropriate diabetes medicine and check your blood glucose levels in a manner that is consistent with your doctors recommendations is also key.

Treatment and Research – Diet and Exercise

Follow a Meal Plan

To keep your blood glucose level in the correct range, it is very important to make healthy choices when it comes to what foods you eat. People with diabetes should have their own meal plan that makes sense with how their body responds to the different type so of food that they eat. If you ask, doctors can give you the contact information of a dietitian or diabetes educator who can help you to construct an appropriate meal plan.

When you develop your meal plan, several things should be considered such as your weight, daily physical activity, blood glucose levels, and medications. A meal plan will help you to achieve a healthy weight for those who are overweight in addition to helping control blood glucose levels. A dietitian can help clarify misconceptions about healthy eating as well as ease you and your family into a plan that fits your goals and lifestyle.

It is not necessary for people with diabetes to only eat particular foods, rather food that are good for everyone are also good for diabetics. Such food includes those that are low in fat, salt, and sugar. Foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables are also great choices. Making healthy choices in your diet will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, control your blood glucose levels, and prevent heart disease.

Get Regular Physical Activity

Staying active is very important for people diagnosed with diabetes. Research has shown better blood glucose levels in older adults and senior citizens who take part in a regular fitness program. Exercise offers many health benefits that are especially important for people with diabetes. It helps you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, promotes insulin functioning to lower blood glucose, strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases energy.

If exercise is new to you, talk with your doctor before you begin. Some exercises, for example weightlifting, may not be safe for people with eye problems or high blood pressure. Ask your doctor to check your heart and feet to make sure you do not have any special problems associated with diabetes. Moreover, ask you doctor to help you find exercises that are safe for you.

Make physical activity a part of your daily life. Go on walks, ride a bike, or garden. Try dancing or swimming, or simply stay active by doing work around the house. Try different activities and look for ways to increase physical activity in your everyday life. Try to get some sort of exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. If you are new to exercising, start slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your exercise.

Medication

Insulin

People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes use Insulin to lower blood glucose levels. People must take insulin when their body does not take enough of it. Insulin is a liquid hormone that must be injected with shots or an insulin pump.

Diabetes Pills

In many cases of type 2 diabetes, the body makes enough insulin but is not properly used by the body. Diabetes pills are used to correct this problem. Some are taken once daily while others must be taken more often. It is important to ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take your pills. Also, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing side effects or your pills make you sick. Finally, remember that diabetes pills should be used in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

Other cases of type 2 diabetes do not require insulin or diabetes pills, rather a healthy diet and regular physical activity will treat their diabetes.

Self-Monitoring

It is important to keep track of your blood glucose levels regularly by using a blood glucose monitor. Logging these levels in a diary may also be helpful to get a better idea of how your treatment is going. Some people must check their blood glucose levels several times a day while others check it once daily. Ask your doctor how often you should test your blood.

Monitoring your glucose levels will help you detect “highs” and “lows.” A condition referred to as hypoglycemia results when glucose levels fall too low. When this happens a person may become shaky and confused. If blood glucose levels decrease too much, a person may faint. Following the treatment plan recommended by your doctor as well as monitoring your blood glucose levels can help you avoid “lows.” If you check your glucose level and it is too low, you can increase it by taking in sugary foods or drinks like fruit juice.

A condition referred to as hyperglycemia results when glucose levels are too high. If blood glucose is too high, it can cause a person to go into a coma. If you experience persistent “highs,” talk with your doctor, you may need to adjust your treatment plan.

ABCs of Monitoring Diabetes

People with diabetes are at especially high risk for developing heart disease and stroke. Because of this, it is very important to monitor your diabetes using your “ABCs.”

  1. A1C or average blood glucose
    B. Blood pressure
    C. Cholesterol

The A1C (A-one-C) test is a good measure of what your blood glucose level is most of the time. A test result lower than 7 is positive sign that your diabetes is under control. A test result that is greater than 7 means that blood glucose levels are too high. If your A1C is too high, take action. Talk with your doctor about changing your treatment plan and lifestyle to reach your goal. Lowering your A1C to a healthy level, will help you avoid the complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease and kidney damage.

High blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney disease, and other complications. Generally people with diabetes want to keep their blood pressure less than 130/80. Have your blood pressure checked at every doctor visit. If it is too high, talk with your doctor about how you can lower it.

Cholesterol, particularly LDL cholesterol, is a fat like substance that builds up in your arteries. If your cholesterol levels are too high it causes your arteries narrow. This can lead to heart disease or a heart attack. People with diabetes should try to keep their cholesterol less than 100. Have your doctor check your cholesterol, and if it is too high talk with him or her about how to reach your cholesterol goal.

Foot and Skin Care

High glucose levels and decreased blood supply to the limbs can cause severe nerve damage and loss of feeling. Unnoticed injuries can contribute to ulcers, which may lead to amputation. Because of this, foot care is very important for people with diabetes. Check your feet every day for cuts, ret spots, sores, infected toenails, and swelling. Report any issues to your doctor, and be sure to have your feet checked at every doctor visit. People with diabetes are more likely to experience skin injuries and infections; for this reason, taking care of your skin is also important.

Your body obtains glucose from the food you take in, the liver and muscles also supply your body with glucose. Blood transports the glucose to cells throughout the body. Insulin, a chemical hormone, helps the body’s cells to take in the glucose. Insulin is made by the beta cells of the pancreas and then released into the bloodstream.

If the body does not make enough insulin or the insulin does not work the way it should glucose is not able to enter the body’s cells. Instead the glucose must remain in the blood causing an increase in blood glucose level. This high blood glucose level causes pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Pre-diabetes means that blood glucose level is higher than average but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Having pre-diabetic glucose levels increases risk for developing type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke. Still, if you have pre-diabetes there are many ways to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Moderate physical activity and a healthy diet accompanied by modest weight loss can prevent type 2 diabetes and help a person with pre-diabetes to return to normal blood glucose levels.

Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, being very hungry, feeling tired, weight loss without trying, the appearance of sores that slowly heal, having dry and itchy skin, loss of feeling or tingling in feet, and blurry eyesight. Still, some people with diabetes do not experience any of these symptoms.

Diabetes can be developed at any age. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In this type of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas are no longer able to produce insulin because they have been destroyed by the body’s immune system.

Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non insulin-dependent diabetes. It may be developed at any age, including childhood. In this type of diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not interact properly with insulin. At first, the pancreas is able to produce more insulin to keep up with the increased demand for insulin. However, it loses the ability to make up for the body’s cells inability to interact properly with insulin with time. The insulin is unable to help the cells take in glucose, this results in high blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. An unhealthy weight contributed by a high calorie diet and lack of physical activity increases the risk for developing this form of diabetes.

African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asian and Pacific Islanders are at especially high risk for developin Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes refers to the development of diabetes in the late stages of pregnancy. It is caused by hormones associated with pregnancy and a shortage of insulin. This form of diabetes goes away after the baby is born, but puts both the mother and child at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes in later life.

Diabetes is a serious disease and when it is not well controlled, it damages the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, gums, and teeth. Having diabetes makes one more than twice as likely as someone without diabetes to have heart disease or stroke.

It is important to keep blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control to avoid the serious complications associated with diabetes. Taking steps to control diabetes can make a large impact in the one’s health.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Diabetes is a serious disease with no cure. Controlling blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol can help prevent or delay complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease and stroke. Much research is being done to find ways to treat diabetes.

Risk Factors

Type 1 diabetes is classified as an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is the result of the body’s own immune system, which fights infections, turning against part of the body.

Currently, it is unclear what exactly causes the body’s immune system to turn on itself attacking and destroying the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. There are genetic and environmental factors, such as viruses, involved in the development of type 1 diabetes. Researchers are working to identify these factors and prevent type 1 diabetes in those at risk.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight, high blood presure, and abnormal cholestorol levels. Being overweight can contribute to one’s body using insulin correctly.

Other risk factors include:

  • Having a family history of diabetes, perhaps in a parent, brother, or sister.
  • Being of African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino descent.
  • Having a history of heart disease.
  • Having a history of gestational diabetes.
  • An inactive lifestyle

Prevention

Modest changes in lifestyle can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those at risk. Here are some helpful tips.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight has many negative effects on one’s health and can prevent the body from properly using insulin. It also can contribute to high blood pressure. Research shows that even a modest amount of weight loss can reduce one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Make healthy food choices. What we put into our bodies has big consequences in our health and how our body functions. Eating healthy helps control body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Be active. Find a physical activity you enjoy and that gets your heart pumping, perhaps walking briskly, dancing, or yard work. Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week – research shows that this helps to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Diabetes is sometimes referred to as a “silent” disease because people may not show any signs or symptoms. Symptoms of diabetes include: excessive thirst frequent urination, being very hungry, feeling tired, weight loss without trying, the appearance of sores that slowly heal, having dry and itchy skin, loss of feeling or tingling in feet, and blurry eyesight. Still, some people with diabetes do not experience any of these symptoms.

Symptoms for type 2 diabetes develop gradually, while type 1 diabetes develops more quickly.

Doctors use different tests to diagnose diabetes. Tests to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes include the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). A random plasma glucose test allows doctors to diagnose only diabetes.

If any of these tests show that you might have diabetes, your doctor will need to repeat the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test on a different day to confirm the diagnosis.

Because type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, doctors recommend that anyone 45 years of age or older be tested for diabetes. If you are 45 or older and overweight, getting tested is strongly recommended.

Older adults are at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, particularly if they are overweight. Doctors recommend that those over 45 years of age be tested for diabetes especially if they are overweight.

Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to pain, disability, and death. Sometimes people have symptoms but do not suspect diabetes. They delay scheduling a checkup because they do not feel sick.

Despite the risk of diabetes due to age and weight status, people often delay having a checkup because they do not feel any symptoms. Sometimes, people experience symptoms do not realize that it may be diabetes. Still, diabetes is a serious disease which, if left untreated, may lead to hazardous complications and even death.

Often times, people are not diagnosed with diabetes until they experience one of its complications, such as heart trouble or difficulty seeing. Early detection can prevent or delay such complications, making checkups all the more important.

Treatment

There is no cure for diabetes, but with careful control of blood glucose level, as well as cholesterol levels and blood pressure, it can be managed.

People with type 1 diabetes use insulin injections, by shots or an insulin pump, to control their blood glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes use oral medications, insulin, or both to control their blood glucose levels. In some cases of type 2 diabetes, a person can use diet and exercise alone to maintain appropriate blood glucose levels.

Managing your blood glucose includes several lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Follow a meal plan that makes sense for you and how your body responds to the different foods that you eat.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily life.
  • Take the appropriate diabetes medicine and check your blood glucose levels in a manner that is consistent with your doctors recommendations is also key.

Treatment and Research – Diet and Exercise

Follow a Meal Plan

To keep your blood glucose level in the correct range, it is very important to make healthy choices when it comes to what foods you eat. People with diabetes should have their own meal plan that makes sense with how their body responds to the different type so of food that they eat. If you ask, doctors can give you the contact information of a dietitian or diabetes educator who can help you to construct an appropriate meal plan.

When you develop your meal plan, several things should be considered such as your weight, daily physical activity, blood glucose levels, and medications. A meal plan will help you to achieve a healthy weight for those who are overweight in addition to helping control blood glucose levels. A dietitian can help clarify misconceptions about healthy eating as well as ease you and your family into a plan that fits your goals and lifestyle.

It is not necessary for people with diabetes to only eat particular foods, rather food that are good for everyone are also good for diabetics. Such food includes those that are low in fat, salt, and sugar. Foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables are also great choices. Making healthy choices in your diet will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, control your blood glucose levels, and prevent heart disease.

Get Regular Physical Activity

Staying active is very important for people diagnosed with diabetes. Research has shown better blood glucose levels in older adults and senior citizens who take part in a regular fitness program. Exercise offers many health benefits that are especially important for people with diabetes. It helps you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, promotes insulin functioning to lower blood glucose, strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases energy.

If exercise is new to you, talk with your doctor before you begin. Some exercises, for example weightlifting, may not be safe for people with eye problems or high blood pressure. Ask your doctor to check your heart and feet to make sure you do not have any special problems associated with diabetes. Moreover, ask you doctor to help you find exercises that are safe for you.

Make physical activity a part of your daily life. Go on walks, ride a bike, or garden. Try dancing or swimming, or simply stay active by doing work around the house. Try different activities and look for ways to increase physical activity in your everyday life. Try to get some sort of exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. If you are new to exercising, start slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your exercise.

Medication

Insulin

People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes use Insulin to lower blood glucose levels. People must take insulin when their body does not take enough of it. Insulin is a liquid hormone that must be injected with shots or an insulin pump.

Diabetes Pills

In many cases of type 2 diabetes, the body makes enough insulin but is not properly used by the body. Diabetes pills are used to correct this problem. Some are taken once daily while others must be taken more often. It is important to ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take your pills. Also, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing side effects or your pills make you sick. Finally, remember that diabetes pills should be used in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

Other cases of type 2 diabetes do not require insulin or diabetes pills, rather a healthy diet and regular physical activity will treat their diabetes.

Self-Monitoring

It is important to keep track of your blood glucose levels regularly by using a blood glucose monitor. Logging these levels in a diary may also be helpful to get a better idea of how your treatment is going. Some people must check their blood glucose levels several times a day while others check it once daily. Ask your doctor how often you should test your blood.

Monitoring your glucose levels will help you detect “highs” and “lows.” A condition referred to as hypoglycemia results when glucose levels fall too low. When this happens a person may become shaky and confused. If blood glucose levels decrease too much, a person may faint. Following the treatment plan recommended by your doctor as well as monitoring your blood glucose levels can help you avoid “lows.” If you check your glucose level and it is too low, you can increase it by taking in sugary foods or drinks like fruit juice.

A condition referred to as hyperglycemia results when glucose levels are too high. If blood glucose is too high, it can cause a person to go into a coma. If you experience persistent “highs,” talk with your doctor, you may need to adjust your treatment plan.

ABCs of Monitoring Diabetes

People with diabetes are at especially high risk for developing heart disease and stroke. Because of this, it is very important to monitor your diabetes using your “ABCs.”

  1. A1C or average blood glucose
    B. Blood pressure
    C. Cholesterol

The A1C (A-one-C) test is a good measure of what your blood glucose level is most of the time. A test result lower than 7 is positive sign that your diabetes is under control. A test result that is greater than 7 means that blood glucose levels are too high. If your A1C is too high, take action. Talk with your doctor about changing your treatment plan and lifestyle to reach your goal. Lowering your A1C to a healthy level, will help you avoid the complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease and kidney damage.

High blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney disease, and other complications. Generally people with diabetes want to keep their blood pressure less than 130/80. Have your blood pressure checked at every doctor visit. If it is too high, talk with your doctor about how you can lower it.

Cholesterol, particularly LDL cholesterol, is a fat like substance that builds up in your arteries. If your cholesterol levels are too high it causes your arteries narrow. This can lead to heart disease or a heart attack. People with diabetes should try to keep their cholesterol less than 100. Have your doctor check your cholesterol, and if it is too high talk with him or her about how to reach your cholesterol goal.

Foot and Skin Care

High glucose levels and decreased blood supply to the limbs can cause severe nerve damage and loss of feeling. Unnoticed injuries can contribute to ulcers, which may lead to amputation. Because of this, foot care is very important for people with diabetes. Check your feet every day for cuts, ret spots, sores, infected toenails, and swelling. Report any issues to your doctor, and be sure to have your feet checked at every doctor visit. People with diabetes are more likely to experience skin injuries and infections; for this reason, taking care of your skin is also important.

Diabetes Statistics

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries. Besides promoting diabetes care and prevention, the IDF tracks statistics on diabetes and diabetics on a worldwide basis.

The Federation publishes the Diabetes Atlas, a collection of statistics and comments on diabetes which is issued from time-to-time. The Atlas is based on data supplied by its members. As these are national associations, the facts and figures published by the IDF are considered quite reliable

Health Diabetes.

According to the 6th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, which was published in 2013, the total population of the world is 7.2 billion. This is expected to have risen to 8.7 billion by 2035, ie in 22 years time.

This total population includes 4.6 billion adults and these has been projected to reach 5.9 billion by 2035. The IDF defines an adult as a person aged 20-79 years, the most likely age range for the development of type 2 diabetes.

According to the Diabetes Atlas, 382 million people around the world or 8.3% of all 4.6 million adults (20-79 years) are estimated to be suffering from diabetes. Almost half of all adults with diabetes are aged 40-59 years, the age range during which people are at their most productive phase in life.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in every country. If current trends continue, the IDF expects that there will be more than 592 million diabetics by 2035, a rise of 55%, when one adult in ten will be diabetic.

Undiagnosed diabetes

Type 2 diabetes may be undiagnosed for several reasons. There are few symptoms in the early years of the disease. In addition, the complications vary so widely that, even when symptoms do exist, diabetes may not be recognised as the cause.

The IDF figure for 382 million diabetics in 2013 includes 175 million who are undiagnosed. I must admit I was astounded when I first read that 46% of diabetics are undiagnosed. How can you count something if you don’t know it exists?

Estimating the number of undiagnosed diabetics, I discovered, is relatively easy. All the IDF had to do was to arrange tests for a sample of people living in a particular area. The tests, which are carried out by the IDF’s national associates, identify both known and unknown cases of diabetes, and it is a simple mathematical exercise to extrapolate to the population as a whole with a high degree of accuracy.

Many (but not all) persons who know they have the disease will be making some attempts to beat their diabetes. The problem with undiagnosed diabetes is that these diabetics will not be managing their blood glucose levels and may be developing complications, such as kidney disease, heart failure, retinopathy and neuropathy, unbeknownst to themselves.

Regional differences

The Diabetes Atlas provides statistics for 219 countries which the IDF have grouped into seven regions: Africa, Europe, the Middle East & North Africa, North America & the Caribbean, South & Central America, South-east Asia, and the Western Pacific.

The IDF estimates that 80% of diabetics live in low- and middle-income countries where the disease is increasing very fast and posing a threat to development. The prevalence of diabetes, however, varies widely from region to region and country to country. It also varies widely within regions… to an extent that suggests that the grouping of countries into regions by the IDF needs revising.

While about 8% of adults (aged 20-79) in the Western Pacific have diabetes, in certain countries in that region the proportion of adult diabetics is much higher. In Tokelau, for example, 37.5% of adults are diabetic. The figure for the Federated States of Micronesia is 35%.

In the Middle East and North Africa, nearly 11% of adults have diabetes. However this is an average for the entire region and the figures for the Arabian Gulf states are much higher, more than double the average, with 24% of adults in Saudi Arabia, 23.1% in Kuwait and 22.9% in Qatar being diabetic.

Undiagnosed diabetes also varies from region to region. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa up to 90% of diabetics are undiagnosed, mainly due to a lack of resources and priorities. By contrast, in high-income countries about one-third of the people with diabetes have not been diagnosed.

In most countries diabetes is increasing in tandem with rapid economic development, which is leading to changes in diets, ageing populations, increasing urbanisation, reduced physical activity and unhealthy behaviour. Many governments, however, seem to be unaware of the growing crisis and the likelihood of serious consequences that could stifle their countries’ development.

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

The IDF estimates that about 316 million people or 6.9% of adults (20-79) have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). By 2035 this number is expected to have risen to 471 million (8.0% of the world’s adult population).

This is serious, as people with IGT or pre-diabetes have a greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. IGT is also linked with the development of cardiovascular disease.

The majority of adults with IGT (about 3.5% of the world’s total adult population) are under the age of 50 and are thus at a high risk of becoming type 2 diabetics later in life. Even more worry-some is the fact that nearly 1/3 of all those who have IGT are aged 20 to 39 years. Unless they overhaul their life-styles these people are virtually guaranteed to become diabetic later in life.

Adding the number of diabetics worldwide (382 million) to the number of people with IGT (316 million) gives a total of 698 million. In other words, nearly 10% of the total population of the world or over 15% of all adults (20-79) have either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

By comparison, only 33.4 million people on this planet are living with HIV/AIDS… about 1/20th of all diabetics and pre-diabetics. It’s glaringly obvious that diabetes and pre-diabetes represent a massive crisis that is threatening to overwhelm global health systems.

Deaths

Received opinion is that the medical complications caused by diabetes, such as heart failure and kidney disease, are major causes of death in most countries.

However, it is very difficult to accurately estimate the number of deaths because (a) more than a third of countries do not maintain data on death due to diabetes and (b) routine health statistics under-record these deaths, because the death certificates on which these statistics are based often omit diabetes as a cause of death.

To overcome these problems, the IDF uses a modelling approach to estimate the number of deaths attributable to diabetes, and appears to have come up with some reasonable estimates.

Diabetes is expected to be the cause of about 5.1 million deaths in adults aged between 20 and 79 in 2013 and nearly half (48%) of these will be people under the age of 60. Diabetes ranks as a leading cause of premature death.

These deaths represent about 8.4% of all deaths of adults (20-79). Deaths due to diabetes are increasing. The estimated overall number of deaths in 2013 represents an 11% increase over the estimates for 2011. Death from diabetes is on a rising trend.

Health costs

There is no cure for diabetes. For this reason, diabetics have to look after their health assiduously. Where they are unable to control their diabetes through diet and exercise, they have to resort to regular medication. This can be expensive both for health systems and for diabetics and their families.

The IDF has estimated global health spending on diabetes to be at least USD 548 billion dollars in 2013… 11% of the total spent on adult health. This is expected to exceed USD 627 billion by 2035.

Where diabetes is undiagnosed, the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment are lost. Thus, the costs relating to undiagnosed diabetes must be considerable. One study found that undiagnosed diabetes in the USA was responsible for an additional USD 18 billion in healthcare costs in one year.

There are large disparities in spending between regions and countries. Only 20% of global health expenditure on diabetes was made in the low- and middle-income countries where 80% of diabetics live. On average, the estimate spend in 2013 is USD 5,621 per diabetic in high-income countries but only USD 356 in low- and middle-income countries.

However, when individual countries are compared, the disparities are extremely stark. Norway spends an average of USD 10,368 on diabetes healthcare per diabetic, while countries such as Somalia and Eritrea spend less than USD 30.