What is diabetes and how serious is it in our country?
Diabetes is a chronic disorder of either lack of production of insulin (as in the case of type – 1 diabetes), or the inability of the body to utilize it properly (insulin resistance – as in the case of type 2 diabetes).
Consequently, glucose remains in the blood stream and causes havoc to many of the organs of the human body. Some of these negative effects include: heart complications, eye disorders, nerve problems and the unfortunate recent increase of kidney failure in Belize.
According to the Ministry of Health via the epidemiology unit in Belmopan there have been an increase in hospitalizations and deaths over the last 10 years in our country.
A reported 90,000 people have been diagnosed with this dreadful disease and is estimated to double over the next 10 to 15 years, one report says.
With such increased statistical data, one should consider ways we can reduce this awful disease in Belize.
Below are seven proven ways to reduce your risk of diabetes.
1. Understand Insulin Resistance and watch for the signs. The process of Type – 2 diabetes begins years or even decades before the diagnosis of diabetes..
2. Understand the mechanism of this disease (especially if you are overweight or if it runs in your family) and also watch for likely signs, so you can make early intervention.
3. Get Regular Screening. Like it is said concerning HIV/AIDS – “know your status”. If you are at risk for diabetes or insulin resistance, be sure to get an annual fasting blood glucose test. If you see it rising over time, even if still in the normal range, this is a sign that your body is having more trouble processing sugar. Also keep in mind that all carbohydrate breaks down into sugar.
4. Exercise. A brisk half hour walk 5 days per week can be enough to help improve insulin sensitivity (the opposite of insulin resistance) and prevent diabetes.
As a matter of fact, one research reveals, that 30 minutes of exercise, is equivalent to 5 units of insulin. Another study also suggests that this same amount of daily exercise can reset insulin receptors in type – 2 diabetics considerably.
Also, just being generally more active can help a lot. To motivate yourself, invest in a pedometer to count your steps, and gradually increase the number of steps you are taking.
In addition, team up with a friend who might have similar goals and be accountable to each other as well as be responsible for your own well-being.
5. Keep your weight under control. This is a very important point, particularly seeing that 80% of those who are diagnosed with diabetes are overweight and that obese people are 2.5 times more at risk of having this disease.
A relatively small weight loss of 7% of body weight has been shown to help prevent diabetes. Strive to stay at your own lowest sustainable weight, even if that is above what the charts say you should be. It is better to aim for a smaller weight loss and be able to keep that weight off than aim for an unrealistically low number, which could cause a “rebound” effect.
6 Reduce simple carbohydrate, increase fiber. Along with exercise, your diet is critical in preventing or reducing the chances of getting diabetes. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is lower in simple carbohydrates like white flour products and higher in fiber like whole-wheat and whole grain. Fibers are also abundantly found in fruits and vegetables which are so crucial for diabetic daily intake.
“If we were to leave this OAS statement alone, we don’t know how it will impact us if we go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” In addition, fiber can also lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss, which are all important factors to consider, when striving to reduce the chance of getting diabetes.
6. Limit your fat intake. From a dietary point of view, fat and particularly, ‘animal fat’ is the major culprit for causing on-set diabetes mellitus. In the case of type 1 diabetes it can increase the malfunction of the pancreas causing less production of insulin, the substances that act as a key to open the insulin receptor and allow glucose to enter the cells. These ‘dangerous fats’ can also clog up the insulin receptors at our cellular level, creating insulin receptor resistance as in the case of type 2 diabetes.
In addition, eating too much fat increases your visceral fat [fat around the abdomen]. This fat on the body is primarily unhealthy and increases the chance of getting diabetes.
8. Consider Home Blood Glucose Testing. If you have found that your fasting blood glucose is rising over time, even if it is normal, and certainly if you “officially” have impaired glucose intolerance (prediabetes), strongly consider getting a home glucose meter and testing your own blood to see if you can determine ways of eating, exercise, supplements, etc, that help lower and stabilize your blood glucose. The only problem is that the test strips are expensive.
Still, you might be able to afford to monitor yourself at least occasionally, or find a diabetic friend who sometimes has extra strips. Tracking your blood glucose response to meals and over time can be a big help in preventing the progression of diabetes.