Type 2 Diabetes – Preventable and Reversible!
In my profession, and working in many different capacities over the years, I have attended countless meetings and symposia on topics related to the primary killers in our country. These include the: American Heart Association Meeting, American Diabetes Association Meeting, Heart Failure Society of America, to name just a few. At each event I find myself wondering why so little is discussed about exercise and healthy living. With alarming regularity, the focus of these conferences is on treatment and not on how much we can do to help ourselves by eating healthy and exercising. Even the national guidelines for the most prevalent diseases and conditions in the U.S. (i.e. hypertension, high cholesterol, Diabetes etc.) say little about diet and exercise – maybe just a sentence or two, if that much.
Diabetes is the best example of a devastating disease that is directly connected to weight and lifestyle. Type 2 Diabetes is now considered an epidemic in America and yet; it is preventable in most cases. With diet and exercise, sufferers can avoid costly and life-long treatments but, instead, they too often neglect their health and end up using insulin and other therapies, often still suffering the terrible complications that come with Diabetes. People can do so much to prevent this disease, but they don’t.
Just a few years ago the American Diabetes Association reported that an estimated 41 million people in the United States between the ages of 40 and 74 were “pre-diabetic.”[i] I probably don’t need to explain that this means they are in grave danger of developing Type 2 Diabetes at some point, possibly within a year of two. Diabetes is an extremely damaging disease. The constant battle with high blood sugar can affect almost every organ in the body. It’s common to see nerve, retinal and kidney damage; mental confusion, elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and even depression. Ultimately, you can enter the realm of complications that lead to amputations and blindness.
The very worst part of Diabetes is that, in its early stages, it is incredibly difficult to detect. By the time the disease has done major damage, it can be too late to reverse the effects. However, the good news is that any action taken towards lowering body weight and increasing exercise results in marked improvement in cases of Type 2.[ii] Even better, many experts now agree that losing even a minimal amount of weight can prevent AND EVEN REVERSE Diabetes. With the debilitating effects this quiet killer can have, it surely makes sense to do everything we can to prevent it. Eradicate obesity and it may be possible to eradicate, if not completely at least to a great extent, Type 2 Diabetes.
[i] “National Diabetes Fact Sheet,” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health, rev. August 14, 2006; and “Your Weight and Diabetes,” fact sheet, The Obesity Society, updated 2010.
[ii] American Diabetic Association