Many blame it on family genetics, feeling they are doomed to have this disease. The truth is, it is less related to family genetics and more to do with lifestyle.
Genetically, we have not changed for thousands of years, so if genetics were the cause, then Type 2 (or what was previously known as adult onset diabetes) would have been as prevalent 100 years ago as now.
The genetic link is body type, in that those who gain weight around the waist area (apple shape) are higher at risk. What saddens me it that many continue down a path of poor lifestyle and allow a preventable disease to take over.
A false sense of safety is created when people are prescribed medications, believing their diabetes is taken care of. Do you realize elevated blood glucose (or sugar) is negatively affecting organs in your body, including the heart, kidneys and eyes to name a few?
You see, there is a normal blood sugar that keeps our cells and organs healthy.
When blood sugar is higher than normal it can lead to the onset of other diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
With all the treatment options, you would think one would have better disease control or prevention. The truth is, if poor lifestyle is to blame, only a change in lifestyle will improve or prevent these types of diseases.
Let me explain. When we eat food, and the body breaks it down, blood sugar increases based on the volume of sugar consumed. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin.
When our diet consists of junk foods, or primarily contains sugar, the pancreas works overtime to produce more insulin. Too much insulin circulating means receptor cells become less, well, receptive. The end result is elevated blood sugar and a diabetes diagnosis.
Medications lower blood sugar, either by supporting the pancreas to produce more insulin or opening the receptor cells. If a person does not make lifestyle changes, injecting insulin is the next step.
The good news is Type 2 diabetes can be reversed (as long as your pancreas is still producing insulin) if a 180-degree lifestyle change is made and sustained.
You must make the decision to make a change and make it today. If you take a look at countries that do not have diabetes, it is clear refined carbohydrates play a huge role.
Refined carbohydrates break down quickly into sugar, taxing the pancreas and supporting disease. Getting back to the basics is required.
Remove refined carbohydrates from your diet (none of us really need them) and replace them with vegetables and some fruit, consume lean non-processed protein and make sure you have good fats from nuts, oils, olives and avocado.
Exercise is essential as well. If you want to reduce or prevent disease, make a change today.
Karen Hourtovenko, RN(EC), is a Sudbury-based health and wellness consultant.