Preventing a slow, silent epidemic
are eating, drinking and sitting their way into an epidemic.
Kaplan, nurse practitioner and diabetes educator with the Health
Systems Diabetes Community Network, said the country
faces an epidemic of diabetes cases because of Americans
obesity, inactivity and poor diet.
has been an increase in Type 2 diabetes, in which people build
up glucose in their blood, and it needs to be controlled through
diet, medication and insulin.
said insulin allows sugar in the blood to enter the muscles and
fat tissues, nourishing the body.
of diabetes, including increased thirst and urination as well
as weight loss, may not be immediately evident with gradual increases
in blood sugar levels.
buildup in the blood breaks down fatty acids, making the blood
more acidic and creating complications which can include blindness,
heart attack, stroke and kidney failure as well as lead to amputations
from a loss of circulation. Acute complications can include coma
occurring in adults, Type 2 diabetes has lately been found in
children as young as 10, which was considered unthinkable 10 years
ago. About 95 percent of the 16 million diabetics in the U.S.
are Type 2 and one-third of these are not diagnosed, Kaplan said.
reduce the risk of diabetes, Kaplan advised exercise, which may
be as simple as walking at least 30 minutes a day, not even all
at the same time, five times a week. However, she said people
who limit walking to only 30 minutes a day should walk every day.
People should consult their doctors before they expand their exercise
key is maintaining a healthy diet and controlling weight, since
reducing weight reduces insulin resistance.
should have a well-balanced diet, she said, including cutting
consumption of fatty and deep-fried foods. Fatty foods have
more calories per gram than fruits and vegetables.
stressed that diabetics dont need to avoid certain food
groups but simply need to limit their consumption of some things.
should keep their portion sizes down, she said. Many
people just dont realize how much they eat.
can track weight as a health risk factor through their Body Mass
Index, which calculates a persons height/weight ratio.
also recommends stopping smoking.
and diabetes increases your chance of a heart attack four times,
she said. She said moderate alcohol drinking, about two drinks
a day, is permitted.
recommends everyone get tested for diabetes, especially those
with a family history of the disease. Check-ups should be annual,
she said, unless advised more frequently by a physician.
1 diabetes, which afflicts about five percent of the population,
is more prominent in young children. It is an absence of the ability
to produce insulin, which is manufactured in the pancreas, and
is controlled solely through injecting insulin.
those who have already been diagnosed with the disease, there
have been advancements in treatment, including new medications
and new longer and faster acting insulins, as well as insulin
pumps, which automatically provide doses of insulin.