Diabetes – An epidemic

Diabetes graph displaying increase due to lifestyle factors

Diabetes increasing due to lifestyle choices

Diabetes near Epidemic Levels

The American Diabetes Association released statistics in June of 2014 from the National Diabetes Statistics Report.

They state:

* Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes which is about 10% of the population, or 1 out of every 11 Americans

* Approximately 21 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.  The remainder are not yet diagnosed. * Approximately 26% of Americans over the age of 65 are diagnosed with diabetes

* Nearly 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year

* Estimates show that 86 million Americans 20 years and over (1 out of 3) are pre-diabetes For a quick synopsis of the diabetic crisis in America, view this infographic from the American Diabetes Association.

World Statistics from WHO (World Health Organization) are also astounding:

* 347 Million people worldwide suffer from diabetes

* $245 billion was spent in 2012 on those diagnosed with diabetes

* Medical expenditures are 2.3 times higher for those diagnosed with diabetes Other Points of Interest

* Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death

* Type 2 diabetes in children 10 – 19 increased 21% between 2001 – 2009 primarily due to weight

* Those diagnosed with diabetes have a 50% higher risk of death from all causes

* Those diagnosed with diabetes have a great risk of blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and loss of lower extremities

There are two primary types of diabetes.  Type I is when the body is unable to make enough insulin and insulin injections are the conventional form of medicine used to treat this disease. Type II is when the body cannot use insulin properly within the body.  This can develop at any age, and most cases can be prevented.  Currently 1 out of 3 people will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Risk Factors:

* Overweight

* Family History

* Gestational diabetes

* High blood pressure

* Abnormal cholesterol

* Physically inactive

If you have any of the above risk factors and are age 45 or older, you may want to consider being tested for diabetes, especially if you are overweight.  You may have pre-diabetes.  Pre-diabetes has no symptoms.  It is usually people with blood glucose levels higher than normal that are at more risk for pre-diabetes.  Those that do have pre-diabetes are at a greater risk for developing Type II diabetes as well as heart disease.  Take this quick quiz found at the CDC website that helps you determine if you may be at risk for pre-diabetes.

With this impending doom, what can we do?  We can each take responsibility for our own health, and do what is necessary to change our lifestyle to prevent contracting diabetes.  The most important things research shows us is that with just 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week and healthier eating, we could dodge diabetes.

Physical activity can help control blood glucose, weight and blood pressure as well as raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.  There is quite a variety of physical movement that will keep us on a healthier path.  To name just a few, take a brisk walk, mow the lawn with a push mower, dance, swim, bicycle, climb stairs, hike, participate in any sports.  Any activity that works your large muscles will provide you tremendous benefits.

Start eating right.  Eat smaller portions.  Limit or eliminate foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, lard, shortening, stick margarine, and non-dairy creamers.  Eliminate fatty cuts of meat from the diet.  Avoid fried foods, whole milk, and dairy products made from whole milk.  Eliminate sugars and white flour.  Eat more whole grain foods for fiber.  Adjust your dietary intake so 50% of foods ingested are vegetables or fruit.  Add colorful foods to your diet as they provide many essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.

For those of you currently diagnosed with Type II diabetes, there is still hope.  With adjustments to your lifestyle, you may be able to “cure” your diabetes.  Work with your Doctor, or Health Care Provider to incorporate more healthy choices into your life, and seek out alternative healing modalities as well.  A nice compliment of holistic and allopathic medicine may just turn your life around.