November is Diabetes Awareness Month
Half of all adults in the United States have diabetes or pre-diabetes (metabolic syndrome). According to the World Health Organization, who made diabetes the focus of this year’s World Health Day (April 7th, 2016), as of 2014, 422 million people are known to have diabetes worldwide, a four-fold increase in the last 25 years. W.H.O. projects that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the world. It is estimated that 1 in 11 people in the United States have diabetes and another 86 million Americans (more than 1 in 3) are considered to be pre-diabetic with most unaware of their risk for developing type-2 diabetes where your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells – or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level).
Some people believe type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes) only occurs in middle-aged or older people, this is not true. In fact, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing in children.
With increasing consumption of sugary beverages, lack of exercise leading to alarming increases in the percentage of children and adults who are overweight, and poor food choices in general, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is very real for many people.
You may have heard about “metabolic syndrome”, this is a pre-type 2 diabetic condition, where people are developing “insulin resistance”. This means that their bodies and specifically their cellular receptors are desensitizing to insulin, and the body has to produce more insulin to maintain blood sugar at acceptable levels. Unfortunately, insulin is very lipogenic (causes the accumulation of fat) and this can lead to increased risk of several chronic diseases, (cancer, heart disease, dementia, and arthritis). Don’t let the “pre” fool you. Pre-diabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes.
You are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) if you have any 3 of the following symptoms:
- · High blood pressure 140/85 or higher
- · Central adiposity (increased belly fat) waist measurement greater than 40 for men or 35 for women
- · Low HDL (the good cholesterol) below 40 for men and below 50 for women
- · Blood sugar levels over 100 after fasting
- · Blood levels of triglycerides over 150
Metabolic syndrome is present in about 35 percent of adults over age 20 in the U.S. and increases to 50% for people over age 60. Increasing weight is the single biggest risk factor for developing metabolic syndrome.
How to avoid or treat metabolic syndrome:
1- Lose weight if you are over your ideal weight – Losing just 5-7 percent of your body weight can slow or even reverse pre-diabetes. For a person who is 200 lbs., that is only 10-15 pounds.
2- Reduce sugar consumption – read labels to know how much sugar you are consuming
3- Exercise more – Get 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of light aerobic activity every week. Example; a brisk 30 min walk 5 days per week, even 10 minutes at a time adds up. Talk the stairs instead of elevator, park farther away from a store and walk…etc.
4- Eat Health & Consume more fiber in your diet
(Tasty Recipes for Diabetics & Pre-Diabetics from the CDC)
5- Speak to your physician or nutritionist about the supplements chromium and alpha-lipoic
acid, which help to restore insulin sensitivity.
6. Drink more water
Importance of Staying Well Hydrated
A published study showed that people who drank more than 34 ounces of water per day had a 21% lower risk of developing diabetes over the next 9 year period. Since water can also help to clear fats and some toxins, this added benefit gives everyone more reason to keep a glass of water nearby throughout the day. Also, those who can work up to drinking 128 ounces a day of very cold water can burn up to 200 extra calories a day, which could result in losing around 1 ½ pounds per month or 18 pounds per year. It has been shown that losing weight helps with blood sugar control as well, so H2O is the way to go!
Pre-diabetes/metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that should not be ignored. Fortunately, metabolic syndrome can be successfully avoided or reversed, but you have to be aware of it and then follow the advice in this article and of your physician.
To the Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Chief Science Officer, Akeso Health Sciences