Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Diabetes: Facts To Know

We recently hosted Seth Braun, a local Certified Holistic Health Counselor who practices at the Mandala Center in Boulder. You may remember him from an earlier Guest Blog. Seth focused on diabetes, ways to prevent and bring it under control if you already have the disease. I have done more research on diabetes since that seminar and am amazed to discover that roughly 21 million Americans have diabetes, although over a third of these folks don’t know they have it. Expenditures on this disease are in excess of $132 billion dollars, or nearly $1 for every $10 health care dollars spent. It is also the sixth leading cause of death.

To see the disease and its effect first hand as I work with many of our customers makes me want to pay even more attention to prevention. Did you know that diabetic retinopathy creates up to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year in our country? And it’s the leading cause of kidney disease. I have worked with a number of customers who have neuropathy, the effects of disease to the nervous system whereby sensation in the limbs is severely diminished. I recall working with one woman who was so delighted with a particular foot massager we carried because after only 15 minutes, she was able to feel one of her toes again. She came back three or four times to try it out, finally deciding to purchase it and make it part of her daily routine in combating diabetes.

I was also surprised to learn that over 90% of all diabetes is Type 2, or the type referred to as adult onset. A large percentage of Type 2 folks can tame diabetes with diet and exercise. And identifying if you are at risk for diabetes requires a fasting glucose test. The test score identifies a condition as “pre-diabetes” if you have a score over 100 and under 125. Men are at slightly higher risk than women for developing diabetes. If diabetes is in your family, your odds increase as well. And, if you are sedentary and don’t have a good diet, you simply add to the potential risk of contracting Type 2.

So, whether you are feeding your brain, your muscles, or your heart, making sensible eating choices seems to be the path to follow, with exercising as a critical component. If you have been exceptionally thirsty or hungry for a period of time, if your vision seems to be getting blurrier or if you have any of the risk factors, you should see your physician and get the fasting glucose test. Identifying pre-diabetes or diabetes early on gives you an excellent chance for treating and, in some cases, eliminating this disease.

Tell us your story about diabetes. What led you to be tested? What were some of the first changes you made? How are you maintaining your blood sugar levels now?

1 comment:

Julie said...

My name is Julie. I was diagnosed at age 7 with type 1 diabetes in 1962 at Denver Children's Hospital. A lot has changed since my diagnosis! Thank goodness that the huge needle that had to be sharpened and glass syringe (both needed sterilizing regularly) are gone. Thank goodness the urine test strips are replaced by blood glucose strips now. Thank goodness I have a pump that keeps track of insulin still working in my body. Thank goodness the blood glucose meters are smaller and more reliable. Since I no longer feel the lows, thank goodness I have a sensor that relays to my pump approximately what my sugar level is and if I am heading up or down. I feel I must control my diabetes so it doesn't control me. Depression is a big issue with diabetes and that must be dealt with also. It amazes me that two days in a row I will eat exactly the same thing at exactly the same time and one day go high and one day go low. I realize that hormones play a part in this and also stress (or maybe the cycle of the moon). I just have to test, test, test--before meals, after meals, before I drive, while I'm shopping, if I am sick, and before bed. This is not a disease that can be ignored. It affects my family too when they have to give me something when I go low. My last thought is that type 2's should not think insulin is a bad thing or a punishment for "bad" behavior. Insulin is a life saver. I have seen many type 2's go on insulin and get their sugar level under control and live a much more normal life. Good luck to all of us! Thanks to Capabilities for making my life a little easier!