According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in our country. At its present rate of increase, 6% a year, the number of diabetics will double every 15 years. Diabetes is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism in which disturbances in normal insulin mechanisms impair the body’s ability to use carbohydrates.
There are two main types of diabetes.Type I, called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), most commonly occurs during childhood or adolescence.The exact cause of Type I Diabetes is unknown. It is thought that it can occur from a viral infection, food allergy, chemical toxicity or free radical damage in individuals who have an inherited predisposition to injury of beta-cells in the pancreas in addition to some defect in tissue regeneration capacity. IDDM diabetics require life-long insulin to control blood sugar levels.
Type II diabetes, called Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), is much more common (about 90% of all diabetics are this type), and occurs mostly in people over age 40. Type II is caused by the consumption of a “Western” diet, high in fast foods, refined foods, high sugar and fat, excess caffeine and alcohol and high stress levels. 85% of Type II diabetics are significantly overweight. This causes the progressive development of insulin insensitivity (also called insulin resistance), believed to be the underlying factor in the development of NIDDM. Weight loss alone can reverse this condition in almost all cases.
Type I diabetics will always need to be under a medical doctor’s care although they can benefit tremendously by incorporating the suggestions given below. The following information will have an emphasis on Type II diabetics, as they can often reverse their condition with changes in lifestyle and diet.
If you are significantly overweight, eat too many processed, high-fat, high-sugar foods and have a sedentary lifestyle, you are at risk for developing diabetes. Diabetics are at risk for several other degenerative conditions. These include Atherosclerosis, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye disease that can result in blindness. Diabetic neuropathy is a condition in which peripheral nerves are damaged, resulting in tingling sensations, numbness, loss of function, pain and/or muscle weakness mostly occurring in the hands and feet. Foot ulcers are the result of peripheral neuropathy and can result in gangrene. As people with diabetes age, there is a progressive inability to heal from cuts and wounds.
The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.