According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012, 21.3 million adults had been diagnosed with diabetes in the United States.  This number is 5 times higher than the number of diagnosed cases in 1980.  If these trends continue, 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050.  As scary as this prediction may sound, this article is not about doom and gloom or the downfall of the US health care system due to french fries and reality TV.  The intention is to raise awareness of who is at risk, what “exactly” is diabetes, and offer hope because Diabetes is not a Destiny.  Diabetes is only a condition.

Who is at RISK?

About 8 million Americans have diabetes and don’t even know it.  There are many risk factors associated with diabetes:  increased age, lack of physical activity, a family history of diabetes, obesity, and ethnicity (half of all Hispanic men and women and non-Hispanic black women are predicted to develop the disease.)

Unsuspecting signs and symptoms of diabetes are extreme hunger, extreme thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, dry itchy skin, slow healing wounds and nerve damage causing numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

 

What “exactly” is Diabetes?

Imagine you come home after a 12 hour work day.  All you want is to devour dinner, plop your rear on your favorite recliner, and maybe consume an adult beverage or two.

However, you need to unlock the front door to your home to get in.  You try the house key and it does not work.  You lift the mat under your feet and try the spare house key, no luck.  Now in frustration, you try every key on your key ring and you snap the car key in the lock…AAAAHHHH!!!

This “Lock and Key” analogy is what happens with Diabetes.

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar.  In the analogy above, you are the sugar molecule (called glucose) desperately trying to enter its “home”, your tissue cells.  The pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that is the “Key” that opens the cell “Lock” to allow glucose to enter for the production of energy ie adenosine triphosphate (known as ATP).  For the sake of simplicity, we will focus on the most common form of diabetes, type II (also known as acquired diabetes).  In type II diabetes, the cells of the body have developed a resistance to insulin that “locks out” sugar (glucose) to enter the cell.  Like the analogy above, the cell becomes “frustrated” due to the fact it can’t produce any energy and locks out even more sugar.  This starvation of energy (ATP) production in the cell is what leads to the extreme hunger feelings and fatigue.  With nowhere to go, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels, and causes blood vessel destruction that leads to nerve damage.

Diabetes is not a Destiny

The first step to take if diabetes is suspected is to receive a proper diagnosis from a medical doctor.  Early diagnosis of diabetes is important in minimizing any complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage/failure, blindness, and amputations of the legs and feet.

If a diagnosis of diabetes occurs, here are four steps to help live a long and healthy life:

Step 1: Monitor your blood sugar level daily: 

A healthy blood sugar level is between 60-100 mg/dl.  Daily monitoring of blood sugar levels will identify any uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar.

Step 2:  Eat healthy:

  • Eat at the same time every day. This will help keep insulin and sugar levels steady.
  • Try to eat 3 times a day. Have a snack at bedtime if taking medicine or insulin. Avoid other snacking unless you’re exercising or treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).
  • Eat plenty of fiber. Green leafy vegetables, whole grains and fruits are good choices. Fiber helps in digestion and with feeling full.
  • Eat fewer empty calories, such as foods high in sugar, fat, and alcohol.

Step 3:  Exercise:

Exercising helps the body use insulin to lower blood sugar levels. It also helps control your weight, and facilitates more energy production.  More energy production combats the feelings of fatigue.  Talk with your doctor or exercise professional about starting a new program.

Step 4: Check your Nervous System:

As explained above, a complication of diabetes is nerve damage (also known as polyneuropathy).  This nerve damage causes the tingling and numbness in the arms and legs of diabetics.  If the integrity of the nervous system has been compromised then the ability to coordinate the body’s functions (like healing, movement, coordination and sensations) is also compromised.

To determine if a diabetic has a nervous system problem is to get their nervous system checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC).  To find a highly trained DC to check your nervous system, please set up an appointment at any one of the eighteen Specific Chiropractic Centers located across the United States.

In 2012, the estimated cost of diabetes in the United States was $245 Billion dollars.  The bulk of this money was spent on direct medical costs (goods and services).  Imagine a world where diabetes prevention, not direct medical costs, is what our healthcare dollars was spent on.  This is the health care reform in its purest form, because diabetes is not a destiny.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog article.  If you found this article useful, please share it with friends and family via email or social media.

In good health,
Dan Ceballos, DC
The Specific Chiropractic Center Boston
(617) 926-2884 | drceballos@thespecific.com

References

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/library/diabetesreportcard2014.pdf
  2. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/diabetes.printerview.all.html