Wednesday, December 13

Diabetes – An Epidemic?

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Is the world dealing with an epidemic of diabetes?

It’s true that obesity is out of control in the West and consequently the type 2 diabetes numbers are growing rapidly. Left unchecked the figures are not going to get any better.

Between 2001 and 2002, the diagnosis of diabetes went from 5.5 percent of Americans to an alarming 6.5 percent. In just one year!

What are the figures like in 2010? The American Diabetes Association figures are as follows. 23.7 million Americans diagnosed with a further 5.7 million thought to have the disease and do not realize! The worst stat though is that 57 million (yes, that’s right) are pre-diabetic and could develop the disease at any time. Horrendous figures.

Impaired glucose levels due to poor diet are the root cause.

Not knowing is the worst because risks of untreated diabetes puts us at a terrible risk of complications including but not limited to blindness, coma, amputations and ultimately death.

The sad thing is that with some simple lifestyle changes Type 2 can be avoided with some ease. For a start eat less, eat more healthily and start taking some exercise. It only needs to be a brisk walk to start with, but do something. The American obesity figures are damning, if you’re in the bracket do something now, before it’s too late.

Statistically, people are now living longer, and it has been on the rise for years. But this will not continue if type 2 diabetes is not put under control.

We are a massive consumption society and if we don’t change – now – our life expectancy will go into reverse.

And, the problem is spreading. Normally thought of as a “Western” disease, cases are even on the increase in places such as Asia and the Middle East.

Current estimates suggest a vicious 380 million global cases by 2025, proof, if it were needed that this IS an epidemic. And diabetes is now striking earlier as we become more sedentary witnessed by cases in the 40-59 age group recently showing a sharp increase.

Symptoms are the key and we need to raise awareness. If you are feeling a bit down it may not be just a cold, or stress or a bug. If you’re unsure, get checked out.

So, don’t ignore symptoms. Oh and for the record, type 1 can be very sudden indeed. If the onset causes extra stress you may quickly find yourself in diabetic ketoacidosis due to a lack of bodily insulin.

Ketoacidosis symptoms include vomiting and severe dehydration and your blood sugar and potassium levels will be all over the place. Sufferers need urgent medical attention as ultimately this could be fatal.

Less extreme symptoms include hugely increased fatigue more so than you would normally expect.

Diabetics can often suffer extreme weight loss. Now if you’re over weight you may think that is good, but be aware this loss is because as a diabetic your body can’t process food properly. The situation is exasperated by sugar and water loss in the urine.

Extreme thirst is another symptom of diabetes. Diabetes develops high blood sugar levels and the body tries to compensate by diluting the blood, which translates to our brain that we are thirsty.

The increased intake of water leads to more urination. However if you are diabetic the body uses this to get rid of sugar and so increases urination even more, having the knock on effect of dehydrating you further still.

One of the worst side effects is that wounds heal very slowly or not at all in diabetics. This is why there is a tendency to amputations as well as very nasty ulcers.

So, maintain a healthy lifestyle and get checked out if you think you have any of the symptoms outlined above. Eat a proper balanced diet and make sure sugar and things like alcohol are taken in moderation. And…make sure you fit exercise into your routine. If you do this you greatly reduce your chances of suffering from diabetes – you know it makes sense!
 

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