Friday, September 27, 2013

The Wake Up Call I Got With Diabetes

I had spent a number of years working toward what finally happened that day. Some of it was my own fault; some of it was the result of the traps around each of us every day with the food we eat and the lifestyle we live. I had a heredity element because my Father had diabetes and his mother had it. So I needed to be careful. But I had gotten cocky and over confident because I'd got to 66 years old and didn't really have any weight or diet related illnesses. I had dodged the bullet for a long time and figured things were going to continue that way.

I had gotten up to a high of 342 lbs. and had a hard time walking a mile at the park without stopping 4 or 5 times to rest. I figured this is the aging process and I mine as well resign myself to getting old. I was in complete denial that there was anything I could really do to make things better. I had tried every diet known to man and could lose weight for 30 days on the artificial life style they demanded and then I was back to old habits and put the weight back on plus some more. They call it the yo-yo process.

When I got the news that I had diabetes that morning my doctor said don't eat after 6 pm and come in tomorrow so we can re-test under fasting conditions. She didn't think it was going to make a difference but at least we would have a proper baseline to start treatment. She later indicated this had been going on for several months and after we talked I realized I had in fact had some symptoms that I didn't realize was diabetes. She told me that my best bet would be to lose weight and exercise regularly.

So I went home depressed and began to do an internet search to educate myself on diabetes. I really didn't know too much about it. I was amazed to find what a high number of people in this country have the disease and that it's on the rise. I was discovered that the number pretty much correlated to the increased number of people over weight. And then later I read how the obesity epidemic was probably directly related to the processed foods we eat.

I was shocked when I came to realize how much nutrition is lost by the time processed food gets to the store shelves. The food industry maximizes their profits with pesticides and herbicides to get bigger yields and add all kinds of preservatives to keep the food from spoiling and then add growth hormones to the livestock feed so they can get them to market faster, and then add appetite enhancers so we can't eat just one, and then put in all kinds of other stuff to make things taste better and everybody turns their heads to what's going on because of the money being made.

Anyway, lucky for me I had the opportunity to fix the diabetes if I choose to lose weight and exercise. Two things came to me to help me get my thinking straight. My friend Dan sent me the book," Younger Next Year", by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, MD, plus I happened to watch the Netflix Video "Fat, Sick, and Dying". They say when the student is ready the teacher appears and I was the student and that book and that video were to be my teachers.

The book is amazing. It explains why it is so important to exercise every day, and how it can greatly improve the last third of your life. I won't try to get into the science behind this idea, but I would recommend the book to anybody retired, or over 50, who is feeling like they are getting old and need to sit in a rocking chair and watch life pass them by. The video tells you about diet and nutrition and how the processed food in our stores is killing us slowly but surely. These two resources lead me to many other information sources that reinforce the idea of proper Nutrition and proper exercise.

To make a long story a little shorter I'm down about 50 lbs. so far and feel better than I have in years. The diabetes wakeup call may well have been my salvation and gave me the extra push I needed to get up and do something. As I'm writing this I just had my 67 the birthday yesterday and have to say I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. People are beginning to comment on the way I look and act, how I have lost weight, look healthier, have more energy, and have begun to get a spring back in my step.

I have a long way to go yet. The blood numbers have begun to improve but I still have high goals and I want to get to the day the doctor tells me I'm no longer diabetic and I can go off the medicine. I guess when you get a wakeup call like I did, and you have to make a decision to do something, and you need a reason you're going to actually do it. My motivation to fix things was because of my 5 grandsons. I decided I wanted to be around to do the funky chicken at their weddings.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Are You Pre-Diabetic?

The question wasn't intended to scare you but rather to bring you closer to the risks one may have of being pre-diabetic.

What is Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a medical condition in which the blood sugar levels are elevated beyond normal levels, but they aren't high enough to be classified as having type 2 diabetes. Although not everyone with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes, negligence of the condition will lead to higher chances of you becoming diabetic.

It is very important that you learn about diabetes in its earlier stages as research confirms that many long term complications associated with diabetes such as CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) and nerve damage may begin from the pre-diabetic stage.

Just like type 2 diabetes, a person may suffer from the underlying symptoms without even knowing about it. Hence, it is important to be aware of the risk factors and which screening tests one may need to undergo. This is particularly true if you suffer from pre-diabetes being a part of 'metabolic syndrome'. If you have been enduring high blood pressure levels, have elevated levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) i.e. bad cholesterol and triglycerides, low levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins) i.e. good cholesterol and a tendency to put on weight around the abdominal region, then you are at risk of being pre-diabetic.

Risk factors may include:

1. Having crossed the age of 40 years.

2. A close relative, parent or sibling diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

3. Belonging to a high risk group of people such as Asians, South American, Hispanic or African descent.

4. Having a family history of insulin resistance or impaired glucose tolerance.

5. Presence of some diabetes related complications such as eye, nerve or kidney disorders.

6. Having a history of heart disease.

7. Having a medical history of gestational diabetes mellitus.

8. High blood pressure.

9. High cholesterol levels.

10. Having excessive layers of abdominal fat.

Research suggest that control over blood glucose levels in the earlier stages can help lower the chances and even delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. One can easily reduce the chances of developing further complications by making simple lifestyle changes such as increasing the levels of physical activity and eating a low-fat based meal. A reduction of even a small percentage of body weight i.e. even 5 to 10 % of total body weight through eating of healthy foods and following a regular physical activity regime can make a huge difference to your health and lifestyle.