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In addition to diet and exercise, a significant number of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes are prescribed medication. Medication is another important element of diabetes management for many people in today's world.
Researchers have still not found a cure and everyone is at risk for diabetes. In fact, diabetes is three times more common today than it was just 30 years ago, and the numbers are rising. Currently millions of Indians have Type 2 diabetes, half of which are over age 60, but millions more will eventually get it if they don't take the right steps. It is estimated that one out of every five people will become diabetic.
More bad news about diabetes is that many people who have the disease have not yet been diagnosed. Untreated and poorly treated diabetes is a major cause of blindness, impotence, kidney failure and heart disease.
Diabetes is a disease in which a person's body is not able to properly control the amount of sugar in her blood. The disease has occurred because his/her body either is not able to produce a proper amount of insulin or because her body does not properly use the insulin that is produced.
Diabetes robs the body of its ability to regulate glucose in the bloodstream. High blood glucose levels can lead to a number of complications, including serious problems to the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums and teeth, and blood vessels. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, and people who have diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease, coronary disease, or strokes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
There are more than 5 million people in the United States who have Type 2 diabetes and don't know it, and another 41 million who have pre-diabetes (when blood sugar levels are higher than they should be). Pre-diabetes is also called metabolic syndrome. Nearly everyone who has Type 2 diabetes passes through pre-diabetes first, which causes no outward symptoms, but increases risk of heart disease by 50 percent.
Even for people with full-fledged Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms can be difficult to recognize because they develop gradually and may be very subtle. The signs to watch for can include: Being very thirsty; urinating often; feeling very hungry or tired; losing weight without trying; having sores that heal slowly; having dry, itchy skin; losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet; and having blurry eyesight, headaches, and diarrhea. Patients may be hypoglycemic before type II diabetes develops.
Beginning at age 45, everyone should be tested for diabetes every three years. And you should get tested annually if you have any risk factors including: being overweight (especially around the waist), sedentary, have high blood pressure, have a family history of diabetes or if you're race or ethnic background is Hispanic, Asian, African or Native American.
Diabetes is diagnosed by a simple blood test. Your blood is drawn after you have been fasting overnight, for 8 to 12 hours. A high fasting blood sugar level indicates diabetes and a Hemoglobin AIC test is used to confirm long term insulin control.
Medicare coverage: Medicare now covers a diabetes screening test for people at high risk for the disease. And, if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, Medicare will cover diabetes self-management training, supplies and nutritional therapy
"Diet and exercise need to be at the foundation of any diabetes management program."
The majority of all type II diabetics are overweight at the time of diagnosis. As researchers began to examine the issue, they found a correlation not so much with how a person eats but what types of foods are consumed. Process foods, which are typically high in calories and low in nutrients and fiber, were the major risks factors.
Stress can also contribute to type II diabetes by increasing adrenaline and cortisol in the body which increase blood sugar. Excess weight and stress, combined with a sedentary lifestyle make for an increased type II diabetes risk. Forsythe adds, "Even moderate or low-intensity exercise facilitates healthy insulin activity."
Because sugar plays a leading role in causing the greatest insulin spike in the body, foods that are high in sugar content should be avoided. While foods that are low in sugar content and high in fiber help lower blood sugar levels and help protect against diabetes.
Diet is key in the battle against diabetes. A fiber-rich, low-glycemic plan in which carbohydrates come primarily from organic, whole foods offers the best protection against type II diabetes.
Along with regular exercise, the following diet guidelines that will help in regulating blood sugar and warding off diabetes:
High fiber foods, such as legumes, nuts, and seeds, whole-grain products, and vegetables including salad greens, green beans, asparagus, celery, and broccoli.
Adequate protein from lean, unprocessed protein sources, such as omega-3-enriched eggs, free-range, all-natural meats, and fish.
Eliminate sugars, processed foods and trans fat from partially hydrogenated oils. These are the primary risk factors in insulin resistance and the reason so many Americans suffer from diabetes.
Replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats to improve insulin efficiency. Olive oil, hempseed, flaxseed, and almonds are excellent sources.
Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, and alcohol. These drinks are high in sugar, which cause your blood sugar to skyrocket. Most holiday punches, eggnogs and hot cocoas are loaded with sugars. Instead, choose filtered water to flush toxins and maintain proper hydration.
Foods to avoid, such as bagels, English muffins, packaged cereals, potatoes, pretzels, and dried fruits have high sugar content.
Allergan-inducing foods, such as corn, wheat, chocolate, and dairy products can exacerbate diabetes by contributing to insulin resistance.
In addition to diet and exercise, supplements can contribute to balanced blood sugar.
B Vitamin levels naturally drop after age 50, about when type II diabetes risk increases. In addition, to improving general health, B vitamins reduce insulin need and stabilize glucose.
Vitamin C reduces insulin resistance, contributes to eye health, and helps prevent cataracts - a common complication of diabetes. In addition, vitamin C contributes to improved circulation, is a power antioxidant, and helps fight infections, which diabetes may be susceptible to.
Vitamin E has anticlotting properties that help prevent vascular complications, such as eye and kidney damage, often seen in diabetics.
Cinnamon helps reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, & triglyceride levels.
Chromium, a trace mineral, is immediately mobilized when either glucose or insulin enters the bloodstream. Deficient in the American diet, chromium helps restore normal glucose function.
Magnesium helps reduce insulin resistance while contributing to cardiovascular health and circulation.
Potassium is depleted when insulin is administered. Potassium supplementation also reduces insulin resistance.
Vanadium facilitates key enzymes that help regulate glucose and is found in black pepper, dill seed, and grains.
Zinc is key for insulin production and protein digestion.
Coenzyme Q10 has vitamin E-like actions and stimulates the production of insulin.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid a powerful antioxidant, has been shown in numerous studies to boost insulin sensitivity and reduce diabetes-induced nerve damage.
Essential Fatty Acids improves insulin resistance and cardiovascular health.
Amino Acids are essential in the production of enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones such as insulin.
American Ginseng helps lower blood sugar levels.
Gymnema appears to increase insulin secretion by revitalizing cells in the pancreas. It also stimulates enzyme activity and metabolism that lead to greater insulin sensitivity and possible weight loss. Furthermore, gymnema may inhibit intestinal glucose uptake and lessen the cravings for sweets. This powerful herb has been used in Indian Ayurvedic Medicine for centuries.
Bitter Melon is fruit that contains at least three different groups of hypoglycemic compounds, including a mixture of steroidal saponins, insulin like peptides, and alkaloids.
Fenugreek Seeds have long been used in Egypt, the Middle East, and India to regulate blood sugar. Compounds in fenugreek, include nictininc acid and coumarin factions, appear to have hypoglycemic effects, and the fiber content in the seeds may also contribute to blood sugar regulations.