Type II Diabetes: Know the facts

Yes, November is Diabetes Month. This disease has become one of the most rampant in the world, as people succumb to the ills of modern day living. Not enough exercise, too many refined and nutritionally bankrupt foods, containing too much sugar and not enough nutrition, and a lifestyle of stress and being overworked.

The signs and symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, poor concentration, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, blurred vision, frequent infections, slow healing wounds, vomiting and stomach pain. The symptoms of Type II Diabetes can be mild or even absent initially, making this type of diabetes difficult to detect.

Pre-diabetes is a condition that almost always develops before full blown diabetes. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not quite high enough to be considered diabetes. Sometimes this condition is referred to as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose and the condition places people at risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although you may not have any overt signs of pre-diabetes, once it is confirmed you should be checked for diabetes at least every two years. Indicators for pre-diabetes are an A1C (the average blood glucose of the past two or three months) of 5.7 to 6.4 percent, a fasting blood glucose of 100-125mg/dl and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) of 2 hour blood glucose of 140mg/dl-199 mg/dl.

Research shows that you may not automatically go on to have diabetes from pre-diabetes if you reduce your body fat and begin exercising even moderately.

The normal numbers for A1C are less than 5.7 percent and frank diabetes is 6.5 percent or higher. The normal number for fasting plasma glucose is less than 100mg/dl and for diabetes is 126mg/dl or higher. The normal number for OGTT is less than 140 mg/dl and for diabetes is 200mg/dl or higher.

The complications of diabetes are serious. High blood sugar levels lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, the eyes, kidneys, nerves and even your teeth. Those with diabetes also have a higher incidence of developing infections. Diabetes is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

For those with diabetes, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. Diabetes affects the heart and blood vessels and can lead to fatal complications such as coronary artery disease leading to heart attack and stroke. Kidney disease arises from diabetic complications because of damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys. This causes the kidneys to become far less effective in removing impurities from the blood and also leads to high blood pressure.

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage which can extend throughout the entire body. This can lead to problems with digestion, erectile dysfunction and damaged nerves in the extremities.

Among the most common issues are peripheral neuropathy which means that the feet in particular may tingle, pain or simply be numb. Loss of feeling is very serious as injuries can go unnoticed leading to infections, and possible amputations. The risk of amputation is 25 times higher for those with diabetes than for people with normal blood sugar.

Eye disease, especially diabetic retinopathy, can cause reduced vision and blindness because the high levels of blood sugar together with high blood pressure and high cholesterol damage the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Finally, women with any type of diabetes throughout pregnancy risk a number of complications. To prevent organ damage to the baby, women with diabetes must maintain normal glucose levels throughout their pregnancy.

High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can mean the baby will put on excessive weight leading to problems at birth and a sudden drop in blood glucose levels after birth. Children who were exposed to high levels of blood sugar during gestation are prone to developing diabetes.

You can change the future by attending to the present!


Jane Riley, M.S., B.A., C.P.T., Certified Nutritional Adviser, can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.


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