In 2013 it was estimated that over 382 million people throughout the world had diabetes (Williams). Researchers estimate that the diabetes dilemma will only increase, and by 2030 it is expected that 552 million people will have the disease, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). The American Diabetes Association (ADA) warns us that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, with 69,071 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 234,051 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.
In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population have diabetes. Of the 29.1 million, 8.1 million were undiagnosed.
25.9%, or 11.8 million American seniors age 65 and older have diabetes.
Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
In 2012, 86 million Americans aged 20 and older have prediabetes; this is up from 79 million in 2010.
Approximately 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed each year with diabetes.
The ADA estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.
Each November we observe National Diabetes Month to draw attention to diabetes and its effects on millions of Americans. During National Diabetes Month, including World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, the National Institute of Health urges us to think about the important role we play in diabetes education and support.
What is diabetes?
Medical News Today describes Diabetes as a metabolic disorder. Metabolism refers to the way our bodies use digested food for energy and growth. Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood – it is the principal source of fuel for our bodies.
When our food is digested, the glucose makes its way into our bloodstream. Our cells use the glucose for energy and growth. However, glucose cannot enter our cells without insulin being present – insulin makes it possible for our cells to take in the glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin to move the glucose present in our blood into the cells. As soon as glucose enters the cells blood-glucose levels drop.
A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated (hyperglycemia). This is because the body either does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much glucose building up in the blood. This excess blood glucose eventually passes out of the body in urine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements.
Types of diabetes
There are three forms of Diabetes, which are as follows:
Gestational diabetes, type 1 and type 2.
This type affects females during pregnancy. Some women have very high levels of glucose in their blood, and their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin to transport all of the glucose into their cells, resulting in progressively rising levels of glucose. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes is made during pregnancy.
The majority of gestational diabetes patients can control their diabetes with exercise and diet.
Scientists from the National Institute of Health and Harvard University found that women whose diets were a high animal fat diet and increased cholesterol levels had a higher risk for gestational diabetes, compared to their counterparts whose diets were low in cholesterol and animal fats.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 is considered an autoimmune disease because the immune system erroneously fabricates and directs antibodies and inflammatory cells to attack the body’s own tissues. The beta cells of the pancreas are supposed to produce insulin production; however, they are mistakenly attacked by the immune system. Type 1 Diabetes is widely considered to be genetically inherited. You could be at risk to developing type 1 diabetes if you have had the Mumps, Coxsackie virus, or have been exposed to environmental toxins.
Type 1 diabetes typically afflicts young, lean individuals under the age of 30. Anyone who is under 30 years old, who has a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes is highly at risk and should be screened.
Type 2 diabetes
A healthy pancreas releases insulin to enable the body to store and use the sugar from the food you eat. Diabetes happens when one of the following occurs:
When the pancreas does not produce any insulin.
When the pancreas produces very little insulin.
When the body does not respond appropriately to insulin, a condition called “insulin resistance” occurs.
Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes produce insulin; however, the insulin their pancreas secretes is either not enough or the body is unable to recognize the insulin and use it properly (insulin resistance).
When there isn’t enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, glucose (sugar) can’t get into the body’s cells and builds up in the bloodstream instead. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it causes damage in multiple areas of the body. Also, since cells aren’t getting the glucose they need, they can’t function properly.
Symptoms of diabetes
The most common signs and symptoms of diabetes are:
Excessive thirst and frequent urination. Intense hunger, weight gain, or weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, irritability, cuts and bruises don’t heal properly or as quickly as they should, skin and yeast infections, swollen, or receding gum line, gum disease, male sexual dysfunction, Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet.
How can we prevent diabetes?
We can help prevent diabetes by following the latest diabetes prevention information from the American Diabetes Association and their 5 tips for taking control, which are: Exercise, Eat plenty of high fiber foods, Lose weight, Skip fad diets and Make healthier choices.
Why people get diabetes?
Why some people have diabetes and others do not? It is our belief that this disease is greatly influenced by individual lifestyle, as indicated above. If your parent was, or is diabetic and it is hereditary, that means you should have diabetes, but this is not always the case. Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body is unable to produce any or enough insulin, which causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood.
Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin. Insulin resistance is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases, including: obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and especially type 2 diabetes.
Is diabetes reversible?
Based upon the above information, we believe type 2 can be reversible. In order to help control diabetes you must eat right and exercise. Due to the lack of time and money, we often fail to exercise and take care of our bodies as we should and rely on too many processed and fast foods.
At Quantum Health & Wellness, we take a holistic, non-invasive approach to treating disease, by using protocols that minimize the risk of harm. As a naturopathic practice, we focus on helping our patients to naturally enhance and facilitate their body’s own redemptive healing properties.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, prediabetes, or are suffering from neuropathy, we can help. We have designed a number of all-natural diabetic herbal supplements that can help to control your diabetes. Give us a call to arrange for a consultation, so we can determine what supplements are best for your condition.
For more information, visit our website at qrdinc.com or call 678-755-0489.
Melmed et al, Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders, 2011.