Tag Archives: diabetes

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes, medically known as diabetes mellitus, refers to a group of conditions that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel. The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems. So what are the types of diabetes and why is it important to avoid, if possible, this metabolic disease?

Types of Diabetes

There are four classifications of diabetes: Type 1 (juvenile diabetes); Type 2 (formerly known as adult onset diabetes – more on that later; Prediabetes (an attempt by the drug companies to push more medication); Gestational (occurs during pregnancy). Of the four, gestational diabetes of course only affects women and is generally resolved after the baby is delivered. Those with Type 1 diabetes are born with the condition, usually genetic, and do not make enough or too little insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose. For the rest of their lives, they are subjected to regular injections of insulin. As previously mentioned, Type 2 diabetes, formerly referred to as adult onset diabetes, is rampantly affecting a much younger population. Where Type 1 diabetes can be classified as a genetic, possibly susceptibility disease, Type 2 is classified as a lifestyle, environmental disease. (I.e. it can be avoided). Prediabetes, introduced first by the ADA (American Diabetics Association), is a fabricated state if you will, determining whether someone has a high susceptibility to becoming Type 2 diabetic. If the blood sugar concentration is between 100-125 mg/Dl (normal is considered 70-99 mg/Dl), they are classified as pre-diabetic. When you examine the proximity of the normal versus prediabetic ranges, about 85% of the population could be classified as prediabetic! A prediabetic diagnosis is a yellow flag that changes need to be made, which should not include medication which is generally prescribed.

The Best Treatment

Unfortunately for the Type 1 diabetic, there is no treatment, only management. Drugs are sometimes prescribed as a precaution to keep the patient from developing Type 2 diabetes. But the same non-drug treatments that a Type 1 diabetic should follow is the same prescription for the Type 2 diabetic – plenty of exercise, moderation of the diet, and monitoring of their weight. Someone diagnosed as being prediabetic is a wake up call to “get your ass” moving. Most will claim to exercise but believe me, it’s not enough. They’ve reached the point where exercise has to become something they do daily, not just here or there or when they feel like it. Exercise comes down to one simple function: muscles move, they require glucose. If high blood sugar levels are detected, movement is a simple, pain free, drug free method of keeping it in check. Monitoring the diet goes without saying. Ingesting a bunch of simple sugar is not a good idea and it’s what has caused the great fear of sugar. Sugar is not bad or evil. Added sugar is and it’s everywhere. Eating fruit isn’t an issue as when you eat fruit you’re also eating the fiber with the fruit. Strip it down to just fruit juice and we’ve got a problem. Extra weight, which is one of the top precursors to developing Type 2 diabetes, should and can be controlled by doing the other two. With extra weight comes an increased resistance to insulin. Overtime, it progresses to the point where insulin no longer works. So, what’s the inherent dangers of becoming diabetic?

The Dangers of Diabetes

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death. Bad news is that it’s on the rise because an increasingly growing number of individuals do not take good enough care of themselves. But just in case you needed the motivation, following are increased risks of a diabetic diagnosis:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Eye damage (retinopathy)
  • Foot damage
  • Skin disorders
  • Hearing impairment
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease

If you’re not a Type 1 diabetic, the good news is that you have a 100% chance of changing it all for the better. If your doctor tells you your blood sugar is higher than he or she is comfortable with, let them know that that’s the last time you’ll ever hear them say that to you again.

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

12 Days of Fitness 2014: Day 11 – Are You Winning the War?

(This is Part 11 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

holiday-weight-gain-torranceThere are two guarantees in life: death and taxes. The rest of course is up for debate. Every politician that runs for office promises no new or reduced taxes (yeah, right) and there are those who claim that their products or techniques reverse the effects of aging or prolong life. (good luck with that one). There are those however that take a very negative, self-defeating mindset when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle thinking “What’s the point?”; “I don’t have time to exercise”; “Why eat healthy? I want to enjoy life.” And the excuses mount on and on until one day it bites them in the backside and it’s too late. Then it becomes, “I’m just old”, “I have a family history”, or “I never had the time.” I’m not here to tell people how to live their lives but what I can share is a perspective that most never think about or worse, don’t even know that it’s going on. So let me share with you some key points regarding everyone’s health that should probably be taught more stringently and you can determine if you’re winning the war or not. Your health is not an entitlement.

  • Cells are the basic units of every living creature. We have approximately 37.2 trillion of them.
  • There are hundreds of different types of cells in the body and with few exceptions are all constantly dividing and regenerating as little as every two days or more than 30 years depending on the type of cell they are.
  • Every time cells regenerate, they have to rely on materials present to carry through with the process. That’s what we provide through our nutrition.
  • Cellular health depends on the quantity and quality of building materials being made available. Think of two buildings that are knocked down and rebuilt – one is made consistently with concrete blocks and the other is also made with concrete blocks but straw is gradually being used in place of the concrete until ultimately the building can’t be erected anymore. Are you providing quality materials to build strong or weak cells?
  • Over time as the cell is provided with less and less quality material it grows weaker to the point where even intermittent good quality materials are brought in can’t be used optimally.
  • The more and more these tired and weak cells are left to their own to survive the sooner they begin to die off and slowly start bringing more of their surrounding neighbors down with them.
  • The body is designed to keep this scenario from happening at all costs and it does an amazing job of doing just that. But in time, there’s only so much it can take, it gets tired, and begins to throw in the towel.
  • The body fat; the unwanted pounds; the high blood pressure; the high cholesterol; the diabetes, etc. are all examples of the cells losing their individual wars.

So what’s one to do?

  • Every single time you ingest something, whether it be food or drink, you are having an affect on the strength and rebuilding of your cells. You can enjoy all there is in life, but be aware that every choice has a consequence.
  • Every day that you’re not engaging in some form of physical activity, the cellular environment gets stale and sludgy, like a body of water with no movement. In time the net effect compounds and makes every effort to the contrary that much harder.

The best advice will never go away. You need to be mindful of your eating; not perfect. You need to engage in regular physical activity; not just for fat loss. You are not only what you eat, but what you absorb. Exercise goes well beyond just sweating for 30 to 60 minutes a day; it’s an inherent need that when our bodies aren’t getting that movement have no choice but to surrender, and not on your terms.

See you tomorrow for the conclusion of the 2014 12 Days of Fitness

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

 

12 Days of Fitness 2014: Day 5 – Are You A Zombie?

(This is Part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

27BODIES1_SPAN-articleLarge-v2Sometimes it’s as if The Walking Dead were real! With the number of “energy” drinks and concoctions pushed and advertised, I’m beginning to wonder if we are the dead walking amongst the living. Have our schedules become that crazy or do we waste so much time doing mundane crap we never really give ourselves a fighting chance? Do you feel tired all of the time? Here are a some of the possible reasons that you may be feeling like a zombie.

  1. Late night use of electronics We all love to “relax” by browsing social media or playing games on our phones or tablets, but various studies have recently found that using electronics before bedtime, such as smart phones, laptops, computers, or playing video games turns up the “fight-or-flight response”, keeping you in a state of stress. This can even be true with watching television! You may be unable to sleep due to increased blood pressure hours after using electronics. So try to switch them off at least an hour before bedtime (studies suggest that it’s best to unplug 3 hours prior to going to bed).
  2. Poor diet, resulting in deficiencies If you are following a clean eating lifestyle then this is unlikely, but if your diet isn’t as “clean” as you would like it to be or very low in calorie intake, both in quality and quantity, then there’s a chance that you may be giving your body inadequate nourishment. This can easily lead to your body feeling severely drained. Make sure that you are eating a well-balanced diet full of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates to keep your body fully nourished.
  3. Depression If your feelings of exhaustion are accompanied by sadness and loss of appetite, and you just can’t find any pleasure in things you once enjoyed, you may be depressed. This may not be something you want to tell people about, but you should talk to a qualified professional to get help and get you on the track to feeling better. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking medication. There are other options to combat depression, such as counselling and that good ‘ol stand-by exercise! Depression does far more than just affect your mood. It can cause fatigue, which would explain your lack of energy.
  4. Lack of sleep The most obvious (yet sometimes overlooked) reason for your lack of energy could be lack of sleep. We are all guilty of “burning the candle at both ends”, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t catch up with you. It isn’t always possible to get the suggested 8 hours of sleep per night, but, where possible, try to get a full night of sleep as you would be surprised how beneficial just a few good nights of sleep per week could be.
  5. Sleep Apnea If you think you are getting enough sleep, but are still unsure why you have no energy, then there could be a chance that you may be suffering from sleep apnea – a condition that briefly stops your breathing multiple times each night, disrupting your deep sleep even though you’re not aware of it. Sleep apnea is quite rare under the age of 65, but, if none of the other solutions in this article apply to you, then it may be worth asking your doctor to test you for this.
  6. Anemia Anemia is a sure-fire reason for feeling fatigued, particularly for women who can become anemic due to blood loss during their menstrual cycle. Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough iron; leading to decreased production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are required for carrying oxygen and energy to your tissues and organs. The diagnosis for anemia is quite simple as your doctor will take a blood test. If this shows that you do have anemia then you will need to increase your intake of iron-rich foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables, white or red meat, and fish.
  7. Diabetes If you suffer with undiagnosed diabetes then this could be one of the reasons behind your lack of energy. Diabetes causes excess sugars to remain in the bloodstream because they can’t be transported efficiently by insulin to the cells for fuel.  This, without treatment, results in extreme tiredness. If you have a family history of diabetes, or if your tiredness is accompanied by extreme thirst and frequent urination, then talk to your doctor as you may potentially be diabetic.
  8. Too much caffeine Caffeine is well known for providing you with a pick-me-up if you are suffering from lack of energy, but caffeine could also actually be the reason behind your exhaustion. Excessive amounts of caffeine can result in an accelerated heart rate, high blood pressure, and ultimately, exhaustion, thus explaining your lack of energy. If you think you consume too much caffeine then try to cut it back and see if your energy levels improve.
  9. Dehydration Dehydration can not only hold you back from losing weight, but it can also severely affect your energy levels. Your body needs water to run efficiently and without adequate levels of fluid, it is unable to function correctly. This can leave you feeling exhausted. A great way to check if you are dehydrated is to check the color of your urine; if it is a dark yellow color then you need to drink more water.
  10. Not enough exercise Although the physical act of exercising makes you feel exhausted, it is actually great for improving energy levels. If you are not exercising regularly, which, depending on your fitness level, may even just mean walking every day, then your energy levels will decrease. A large number of studies have found that sedentary people started to feel much less fatigue once they began a workout regime. So keep moving and as with everything though, don’t overdo it.
  11. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis M.E. (aka chronic fatigue syndrome) is a condition that causes extreme fatigue and, if you are suffering from a severe lack of energy to the point that some days you struggle to even sit up in bed, then this could be the cause. Unfortunately there is no test for M.E, but if you think that this could be the reason for your lack of energy, then talk to your doctor and they will be able to assess your symptoms.
  12. Thyroid problems Thyroid problems are more common than you may think and they can cause a substantial lack of energy. If your thyroid is not working efficiently then you will also be experiencing symptoms such as weight gain/loss and muscle pain. A blood test for your level of thyroid-stimulating hormone can help evaluate the efficiency of your thyroid function.
  13. Lingering UTI or yeast infection Usually it’s very obvious when you have a urinary tract infection but if you have recently suffered with an infection and are experiencing fatigue, then it could mean that the infection is lingering and causing you to feel a lack of energy. Talk to your doctor if you believe this may be the cause of your energy loss.

Although I have outlined a variety of medical issues as possible reasons for your lack of energy, please don’t jump to conclusions and assume that your fatigue must be caused by one of these conditions. It is usually the case that you simply need to get more sleep and clean up your diet. If however, you do feel that any of the symptoms apply to you, contact your doctor to discuss this further.

See you tomorrow for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.