Focusing on Diabetes

By Jennifer Morganti, ND

Over a quarter of Americans age 65 years and older have Type 1 or 2 diabetes and 35% of all adult Americans have pre-diabetes. These statistics are expected to increase due to the obesity epidemic occurring in our country, as excess weight is highly correlated with blood sugar regulation complications. With two-thirds of Americans being overweight or obese, the majority of our population is at risk for developing diabetes.

November is American Diabetes month, making now the perfect time to focus on this highly preventable health issue. Type 1 diabetes has a genetic component that is more difficult to overcome, but it only represents a small percentage of diabetes cases. The good news is that Type 2 is the most pervasive but preventable/treatable form, giving us great hope that we can turn around the statistics in this country.

A disorder of sugar and fat metabolism, Type 2 diabetes frequently develops after a long period of insulin resistance. Insulin is responsible for transporting sugar and protein into cells. Insulin resistance is the decreased ability of certain cells to recognize normal amounts of insulin, which tricks the body into producing more insulin needlessly. Eventually, this overproduction exhausts the cells in the pancreas that produce it, resulting in insufficient insulin levels. This causes blood sugar to rise at constant, unhealthy levels, eventually leading to a diagnosis of diabetes.

Diet and exercise are always at the foundation of diabetes prevention and treatment. Certain nutritional supplements can help keep blood-sugar levels stable, and prevent early stages of insulin resistance from progressing into diabetes.