Diabetes — Are we all at risk?
by Dr. Avé C. Sims —
Diabetes mellitus, also known as type II diabetes or late-onset diabetes, is currently the fourth leading cause of death by disease in the U.S., and the number of people afflicted is increasing by 6 percent annually. At this rate, the number of people with diabetes will double every 15 years. Strongly associated with Western lifestyle and diet, diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder in which carbohydrates, fats and proteins are inadequately metabolized. Diabetes-related problems do not just affect the aging and obese anymore. Other segments of the population now are seeing the effects of this disease.
Risk factors for diabetes mellitus include excess sugar consumption, lack of dietary fiber, excess iron, obesity, genetics, toxins, auto-immune disorders and viral issues.
As these factors indicate, diet, genetics and environment can greatly increase the risk of developing diabetes. One problem is that our convenience-oriented, fast-paced, tech-savvy society is not conducive to a healthy diet or regular exercise routine. The volume of sugar we consume is disastrous to our health. We hear again and again that our sugar-filled diets are causing health problems — from obesity to stroke, in great numbers, but we resist the reality of the situation.
Genetics also play a distinctive role. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is particularly high among ethnic minorities in the U.S., including African-American, Hispanic and Native American populations. African-Americans have a roughly 1.3 times greater risk, compared to the average population.
If you notice warning signs (see the accompanying box), consult your doctor, who can run tests to determine your fasting blood glucose level, thyroid levels, fructosamine levels and glycosylated hemoglobin levels. They also may do a hair analysis to determine mineral content or an oral glucose insulin tolerance test to diagnose the degree of diabetes mellitus.
Warning signs of diabetes
- Excess urination
- Vaginal itching
- Multiple, large, hyper-pigmented skin tags
- Excessive hunger
- Visual changes
- Poor wound healing
- Chronic candida infections
- Weight loss
How can you prevent the onset of diabetes?
- Do not smoke.
- Get regular aerobic exercise.
- Eat a diet low in saturated fat and high in fish, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Maintain your optimal body weight.
- Eliminate sugar intake.
- Avoid coffee.
- Practice good stress management.
Nutritional and botanical supplements are available to prevent and/or treat diabetes, but it is important to consult a skilled physician for the correct supplement combination for your specific health situation.
Learning to better manage stress also will help prevent outward physical manifestations in our health, such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. Many simple techniques, such as yoga, massage, prayer, exercise, hypnotherapy or deep breathing can be effective in managing stress and reducing its bad influenc
Dr. Avé C. Sims is a naturopathic physician who specializes in treating chronic health conditions and general wellness with acupuncture, homeopathy, nutritional and lifestyle counseling. 480-539-6646 or trueharmonywellness.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 23, Number 1, February/March 2005.