Chances are, if you’re not one of them, someone you know and love will be suffering this chronic disease.
Diabetes occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood because the body is not producing insulin or not using insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone needed for glucose to enter the cells and be converted to energy.
Two main types of diabetes
According to Diabetes Australia, Type II is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with the disease. While it usually affects older adults, more and more younger people, even children, are getting type 2 diabetes.
|Type 1 Diabetes||Type II Diabetes|
Source: Australian Diabetes Council
Type II diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where extra weight is carried around the waist.
These lifestyle factors show that Type II Diabetes is a progressive disorder that, if carefully controlled, may be reversed by implementing dietary/lifestyle changes.
It is important to assess whether other factors, such as stress hormones, are impacting the insulin hormone.
Do you have the following symptoms?
- Weakness, trembling or shaking
- Decreased hunger on waking in the morning
- Energy slump mid-afternoon
- Light headedness
- Lack of concentration/behaviour change
- Numbness around the lips and fingers
- Feeling excessively thirsty
- Frequently passing large volumes of urine
- Feeling tired
- Blurred vision
- Infections (e.g. thrush, cystitis, wound infections)
- Weight loss
These symptoms are signs that the body is struggling to balance blood glucose levels and seen in the following conditions known as pre-diabetes:
In this state, the insulin produced by the pancreas is insufficient to enable the cell to take up glucose (needed for energy), so the cells become resistant to the efforts of insulin. The pancreas will start to produce more and more insulin until it can no longer keep up with the body’s demands, so the blood sugar rises. Insulin resistance is a serious condition and can be treated with specific nutrients and antioxidants to reduce the risk of progression to diabetes.
The prefixes of ‘hypo’ (low) and ‘hyper (high) outline the problem of blood glucose levels. This see-sawing effect of glucose is confusing to the pancreas and may be the cause of the progression towards diabetes. Hypoglycaemia occurs when glucose levels in the blood falls below 4 mmol/L. The causes of this condition can relate to lifestyle, and are often brought on by skipping meals, over-consumption of alcohol, consuming a high-sugar diet and rapid increase in exercise.
Hyperglycaemia, a high level of glucose in the blood, also occur with a high-sugar diet, stress and infection.
If you are genetically predisposed to diabetes or have a lifestyle that increases your risk, it is important to put positive action into place to reduce the risk of progression.
Fasting Blood Glucose and Glucose tolerance tests are the two blood tests used to diagnose Diabetes. Though reliable, a blood result that is high should be taken seriously.
Nutrients that are useful include magnesium, chromium, Acetyl Co-A, B vitamins and antioxidants. Green tea and diabetes-reducing herbs such as Gymnema, Cinnamon and Coleus are necessary to increase the effect of the nutrient supplements. Even a few dietary changes can help you to reduce risk.
- Do you know:
- which foods can help to stabilise blood glucose levels?
- what diabetes has to do with advanced glycation end products (AGEs)?
- how you can reduce your risk of free radical damage due to glucose inbalances?
- Do you have high blood pressure and/or disordered cholesterol levels, which in crease risk of diabetes?
- If you suffer from fatigue, sleep disturbances and/or depression there is a change it has to do with blood glucose disturbances.
If you already have Type II Diabetes, a highly nutritious eating plan with specific supplements and an exercise plan will begin to reduce the damage of the disease. In some cases you may be able to reverse the damage.