The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 100 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes or prediabetes. These conditions lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, problems with circulation, organ health, muscle integrity and more. November is American Diabetes Month, which is a time to learn about the factors that cause diabetes and how to avoid the disease.
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death among people in the U.S., and the number of people that have this disease continues to rise. Normally, your body breaks down your food to use for energy. Sugars (like carbohydrates) are absorbed by the blood and taken to cells that need them. For those cells to receive nutrients and sugars for energy, hormone-regulated insulin must bring sugars from the bloodstream to your cells.
With diabetes, the cells become insulin-resistant and sugars can’t be removed from the bloodstream. This causes many chronic symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, physical illness, and even death.
You don’t develop diabetes out of the blue. Often, patients can have diabetes for years without realizing it, as they have not had intense symptoms that make the disease known. It’s estimated that about 1 in 4 people in the United States have diabetes, but they are not aware that they have it. This is because some people manage their health enough that they may notice low-grade health symptoms, but they don’t have the chronic, life-threatening ones for years.
You can be sure if you are in a prediabetic stage—or showing some level of insulin resistance—through a professional blood test. This is an easy way to know if you are at risk. However, your genetics and lifestyle can also let you know if you are risk for diabetes. If you have a close relative (parent/sibling) with diabetes, you can develop it as well. Type 1 commonly runs in families, so you should be tested for it if this type runs in the family.
Type 1 can happen to anyone, but people are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes over time. Being overweight or obese is the greatest factor in developing Type 2. This is because the more fat cells you have, the more insulin-resistant your cells can become. Carrying extra weight around your middle is the worst weight you can carry if you’re at risk for insulin-resistance. Not getting sufficient exercise is also a risk factor as well as age (45+), family history, high sugar-intake, a poor diet and poorly-managed health. Some races tend to be more susceptible to diabetes than others.
Many people believe eating too much sugar will automatically make you diabetic in the future. There are people who eat very little sugar and develop diabetes and others that eat a ton of sugar and never get it. Sugar can be a risk factor for developing diabetes, but only Type 2. That is because lots of sugars in your diet will lead to excess weight gain. Added sugar is not a nutrient and it is not a substance needed by the body. Your body uses sugars found in nature (like in fruit) for energy, but added sugars themselves basically pack on the pounds. That is why a person can lose weight so quickly when they stop drinking sugary sodas and sugary treats. It’s the sugar that leads to the excess weight.
The best way to avoid excess weight or obesity that contributes to diabetes is to manage your diet. You can’t eat terrible and simply work off the nutrient-poor food with exercise. You need food that is high in nutrients so that all your organs, tissues, bones and nerves get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Good nutrition makes a difference in your energy, how well blood sugar is controlled, and is key for proper circulation. If you eat poorly or you want to see how your blood looks, come in for a nutritional assessment. This is a test where we actually examine your blood to look for nutrient deficiencies. We can also test your body with gentle electricity to see where your fat deposits lie. From there, we can help you on a weight loss or eating plan that slims you down, gets you healthier and reduces your risk for diabetes.
One of the risk factors for diabetes is not getting enough exercise to help your body maintain a healthy weight. The American Heart Association recommends that every person gets at least 150 minutes of exercise each week to stay healthy. If you break that down, it comes out to 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. For those who do vigorous exercise, the recommendation is a minimum of 75 minutes a week. However, studies show that you are at more of a risk for diabetes if you exercise less than 3 times a week. You can be doing exercise 2 or 3 times a week and still be susceptible to the disease.
Truly, physical activity can help you avoid many chronic conditions. Often, patients aren’t quite sure how to exercise for their age, injury, weight goal or how to exercise with a chronic condition. We can help our patients get on a plan that has proper stretching and exercises to achieve a certain goal. If the goal is simply weight loss, diet and exercise plans are great to help change a patient’s health.
We have weight-loss aids that are also a beneficial aspect of losing weight quicker. Those include Laser-Like Lipo sessions and Solutions4 Body Wraps as well as nutritional supplements and guided counseling. Laser-Like Lipo is a service that uses gentle laser light on areas of fat deposits to help gradually “melt” the fat away. The fat is then removed naturally from the body through the lymphatic and digestive systems. If you want to reduce your risk for diabetes or get your prediabetes status under control, call Olathe Chiropractic today at (913) 732-0087!