What is it really like to have or live with someone who has diabetes? Although great progress has been made in the medical treatment of diabetes, ask any diabetes patient and you'll find just how precious a normal, functioning pancreas truly is (or, in the case of type 2 diabetes, just how precious insulin sensitivity is).
Daily challenges include keeping blood sugar stable, avoiding scary blood sugar drops, and constant finger-pricking blood sugar tests. Aside from a primary care physician, most diabetes patients have a team of physicians they need to report to, one for the kidneys, one for the heart, and even a podiatrist. The American Diabetes Association also reports that people diagnosed with diabetes have health care costs 2.3 times higher than if they didn't have the disease.
It Get's Complicated
Regardless of the type of diabetes, abnormally high levels of glucose circulating in the blood can precipitate a long list of complications:
- cardiovascular disease (of the heart and blood vessels)
- kidney damage
- vision loss
- nerve damage
Let's examine the risk of cardiovascular disease, for example. A recent large study found that women with diabetes younger than age 45 are six times more likely to have a heart attack than those who do not have diabetes. Recent research published in the journal Nephrology also suggests that people with type 2 diabetes are more prone to developing Alzheimer's disease.
Who is at risk?
Although type 2 diabetes is often called adult-onset diabetes, the ages it's affecting are getting younger and younger. In fact, the risk of developing diabetes is higher in younger adults versus middle-aged adults, even if they may have the same degree of weight gain.
Cut Your Risk!
Risk increases with greater body fatness and weight. Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. It also helps to screen for the condition because early detection can help you lessen the risk of complications and help you control symptoms.
Put your muscles to work! Make them work harder and more often. This makes muscles more sensitive to insulin. They also collect glucose and other nutrients from blood more efficiently when they are strong. This means less stress on your pancreas.
Protein intake is key for building muscle. Excellent sources of protein include fish, eggs, lean poultry and meat, as well as a protein shake. EnergyFirst's whey protein isolate, known as ProEnergy, is a good quality powder and an easy way to get your complete range of amino acids before a workout, in a meal, or between meals. It's especially recommended before a workout, just before you start to increase bloodflow to muscle tissues during exercise.
There is no magical nutrient that will prevent diabetes. Your diet as a whole needs to be whole and healthy. Whole grains (not refined carbs), unsweetened beverages (not sugary drinks), healthy fats (not hydrogenated or trans fats), healthy protein sources (not processed meats) are the top healthy diet changes that will impact your risk of developing diabetes.
Put simply, staying lean and staying active can curb your personal diabetes risk.