According to the World Health Organization, the rising number of diabetic cases have more than tripled since the 1980s. They continue to state that at least 422 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, and is this number is expected to double by the year 2030.
The disease currently ranks as the number one leading cause of deaths, followed by cardiovascular diseases that have plagued our society. The highest number of deaths is said to occur in low and middle-income countries such as India and African countries. This is due to the limited access of medicine and appropriate technology to treat the disease.
Diabetes falls under the category of diseases termed as lifestyle diseases. This means that our lifestyle choices have the potential to influence our state of health. The major contributory factor to the development of diabetes is obesity, as well as being overweight.
Scientists recently uncovered that obesity does lead to the development of Type 2Diabetes. Research continues to state that obese individuals are at least 70 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
There are two major types of diabetes. They include Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. There is another type known as Gestational diabetes. However, for the purposes of this article, we will focus on the two major types of diabetes.
Each type of diabetes exhibit different characteristics and symptoms. Hence, they require different methods of treatment. However, we will get into that later. Let us first start by explaining what each type entails.
This type of diabetes is commonly referred to as Juvenile diabetes, due to the fact that it can occur at a very young age. Research has shown that children under the age of 5 can be diagnosed with the disease. It is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, due to its method of treatment.
Type 1 diabetes is termed as an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a state in which your body’s immune system attacks beneficial and important cells in your body. In a way, your body is destroying itself by mistaking your healthy cells as foreign cells.
The same case applies to type 1 diabetes. Your body mistakes the cells that are necessary for the production of insulin. Without the necessary cells, the body lacks the insulin required to absorb the sugar present in the blood. The damage done to the pancreas is permanent, and hence, cannot be reversed.
Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes and is likely to occur in adulthood. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 90% of adult health cases involve type 2 diabetes.
This type is caused when your body lacks the ability to produce or utilize insulin effectively. The sugar present in the blood cannot be absorbed into body cells for energy production.
The most at risk are the individuals over the age of 40. However, more and younger individuals are also getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Despite how widespread the disease is, it can be prevented and reversed.
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
Research is yet to discover the exact cause behind the autoimmune response leading to type 1. However, research states that genes are a huge contributory factor. More specifically, individuals with the Human Leukocyte Antigen(HLA) complex are likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
Other factors that may trigger the autoimmune response include Virus, vaccines and certain types of foods just to name a few.
Causes of Type 2 diabetes
The major cause of type 2 diabetes has been found to be genetics. Meaning, if anybody in your family was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you are very likely to develop it. Lifestyle decisions contribute as well. What you eat and how well you take care of your well- being matters a great deal.
Research has shown that individuals that suffer from cardiovascular diseases, or high blood pressure are likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Certain types of medications can influence the normal production of insulin, leading to the development of the diseases.
Both men and women may experience the following signs and symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes:
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss or gain that has no obvious cause
- Blurred vision
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Skin infections
- Patches of darker skin in areas of the body that have creases
- Breath that has a sweet, fruity, or acetone odor
- Reduced feeling in your hands or feet
Signs and Symptoms That Are More Specific To Women:
Yeast infections such as Candida and thrush are very common in women. The presence of glucose in the blood provides a conducive environment for yeast growth.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
If you experience on and off depression, irregular periods, hair loss, and severe acne, you might be suffering from the above. It is said to be caused by an overproduction of male hormones. These hormones then lead to an increase in blood glucose, increasing the risk of developing diabetes.
Urinary Tract Infection
The risk for UTI’s are higher in women with diabetes due to high blood glucose levels and the inability of immune cells to efficiently fight bacteria are all causes of UTIs.
It is important to know that Type 2 diabetes often does not have any symptoms.
If you exhibit any of the above symptoms, it is imperative that you get tested. Usually, doctors test the level of glucose to determine your diagnosis. The tests include: The A1C test, Fasting blood sugar test or the Oral glucose tolerance test.
Type 1 prognosis has lessened over the years due to advances in technology and medicine. Moreover, a better understanding of the diseases has helped a great deal. Research states that at least 13% of those diagnosed with type 1 will die before the age of 40. Whereas, with type 2, life expectancy is reduced by at least 10 years.
Steps To Reverse Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be reversed. However, the question remains, how? Below are some of the steps that you can incorporate to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes.
Exercise is essential because it helps your body use insulin to keep your blood sugar in control. You should aim for about 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you can not do 30 minutes in one session break up your exercise into 10 minute session eventually increasing your exercise session to 30 minutes. Types of exercises include aerobic, strength training and flexibility. You should spread your time evenly across these exercises to receive the most benefits for your body.
Change Your Diet
Type 2 Diabetes is triggered by insulin resistance or when the body does not respond properly to insulin. Controlling what you eat is important in helping to normalize Insulin sensitivity.
What to Eat:
- Fresh more fresh fruit and vegetables as they are packed with vitamin, minerals and other properties that lower overall health issues, including obesity and age- related diseases.
- Eat more low – glycemic vegetables, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts.
- Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries), peaches, apples and cherries are ideal as they are low- glycemic fruit.
- A diet high in fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates which further help stabilize blood sugar. Try to increase your soluble fiber intake to 30- 50 grams a day.
- More proteins, but all protein is created equal. Lean proteins such as turkey, chicken breast, fish as they only have a small effect on raising blood sugars. Lean proteins are also lower in calories, fat and saturated fats which can help lead to weight loss.
What Not to Eat or Eat Less:
- Processed or junk foods.
- Food that has white flour and sugars which include: breads, cereals, pastas and pastries.
- Process Fruit Juices – Try making your own juices or try green juice Organifi.
- Red Meat, unless organic.
- Dairy – instead try substitutions such as unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk or soy milk.
Manage Your Stress
Stress may raise blood sugar levels, impair glucose tolerance and increase insulin resistance due to a rise in the “stress hormone” cortisol. Follow these tips to decrease your stress.
Cinnamon, bitter melon, chromium picolinate, ginseng, alpha lipoic acid and vitamin D all have been reported to help reduce insulin resistance and decrease blood sugar levels. Speak to your doctor before starting any supplements.
Lose Excess Weight-
Being overweight causes more stress on the body which increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Make it a point to exercise, eat right, and reach out for support to get rid of excess weight.
Diabetes research is always changing in regards to its causes and treatment. Since theories constantly change be sure to do your own research and consult with your doctor with any techniques used to prevent or reverse diabetes.
Note: I am not a doctor and cannot take the place of your doctor. Before making any changes, especially to medication, consult your doctor or health care professional.