Information on Diabetes
Dr. Katja Van Herle provides information regarding diabetes, tips for living with it, and ways to improve your health.
The world epidemic of diabetes is comprised mainly of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, often referred to as adult-onset diabetes, which unfortunately isn't true. This Type 2 diabetes is the primary cause of diabetes around the world in children as well as adults.
If we look at what happens in this disease we see two primary problems:
1. Insulin production is not enough
This is a way of explaining "pancreatic exhaustion," which means the pancreas, which makes insulin to get glucose (sugar) inside of cells, can't keep up. Ultimately, the body can't generate enough insulin to keep blood sugars normal.
2. Insulin Resistance
This means the body cannot get the glucose inside of cells for usage, in what would be a healthy metabolism.
How does this happen? Think about what happens after we eat a meal. The body absorbs all nutrients very quickly through the stomach lining. These nutrients pass by the pancreas, and the pancreas begins to secrete insulin to get the glucose into the cells. Insulin works in many ways, but a key function of insulin is to go to all cells in the body (brain, liver, kidney, muscle and more), and then "open" the cells' doors. This allows glucose to get into cells, and like logs on a fire, provide fuel for cell function.
When a body is no longer in balance, we see difficulty in opening cell doors - they're stuck! This is "insulin resistance," also called dysmetabolic syndrome. In this case, your body can't get sugar into cells after a meal. If this happens for five to 15 years for adults, or about five years for children, then the body and pancreas give up, and blood sugar levels elevate. This is Type 2 diabetes. The body can't get sugar into cells and the body loses one of its primary energy sources. Additionally, full blown diabetes has set in. High-circulating blood sugar levels occur, which ultimately help lead to the destruction of all the vessels or "pipes" in the body, possibly resulting in blindness, kidney disease, heart disease and/or stroke.
Reversing this process is difficult, but possible, especially if caught early on. Here are a few tips that can reverse insulin resistance and early Type 2 diabetes:
Physical movement is like grease for the biologic cell doors. It opens cells to let glucose in, so it doesn't circulate through the body's blood vessels to promote disease and damage.
Be sure to eat well in general. Eat multiple small, low-fat meals several times a day, and stay away from concentrated sweets. What does that mean? Have enough protein with each meal, (egg whites, tofu, non-fat cheese, lean turkey or chicken) as well as a healthy carbohydrate (whole grain bread, quinoa, brown rice). The idea is to eat protein and carbohydrate together, even every three hours, to ensure your pancreas is less stressed. The days of a big bowl of pasta at dinnertime are likely to be over. When you enjoy protein and carbohydrates together, your pancreas won't have to work as hard to secrete insulin, and you will feel full and strong.