Diabetes Information – Symptoms, Causes and Prevention.

There is a staggering amount of misinformation on diabetes, a growing epidemic that afflicts more than 29 million people in Africa today. The sad truth is this: it could be your very OWN physician perpetuating this misinformation.

Most diabetics find themselves in a black hole of helplessness, clueless about how to reverse their condition. The bigger concern is that more than half of those with type 2 diabetes are NOT even aware they have diabetes and 90 percent of those who have a condition known as pre-diabetes aren’t aware of their circumstances, either. The latest diabetes statistics echo an increase in diabetes cases, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. By some estimates, diabetes has increased more than 700 percent in the last 50 years.

What’s hidden behind this medical smokescreen is that type 2 diabetes is completely preventable. The cure lies in a true understanding of the underlying cause, which is impaired insulin and leptin sensitivity and implementing simple, inexpensive lifestyle adjustments that spell phenomenal benefits to your health.

Also known as diabetes mellitus, type 1 diabetes is a chronic health condition traditionally characterized by elevated levels of glucose in your blood, often simply called high blood sugar.  Type 1 diabetes – dubbed  “juvenile onset diabetes” – is the relatively uncommon type, affecting only about 1 in 250 individuals. Occurring in individuals younger than age 20, it has no known cure. What’s most concerning about juvenile diabetes is that, these numbers have been going up steadily right along with type 2 diabetes.

But even more significant is that for black children, they’ve gone up 200 percent. And, according to recent studies, these numbers are predicted to double by 2020 for all youth. In type 1 diabetes, your own immune system ravages the insulin-producing cells of your pancreas. The result is a loss of the hormone insulin. Type 1 diabetics need to be supplemented with insulin for the rest of their lives as failure to do so will rapidly result in death. At the current time, other than a pancreas transplant there is no known cure for type 1 diabetes.

The far more common form of diabetes is type 2, which affects 90 to 95 percent of diabetics. In this type, your body produces insulin but is unable to recognize and use it properly. It is considered an advanced stage of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance allows glucose in your body to increase and cause a host of complications.

The signs of diabetes may all be there, but the often-overlooked fact is that type 2 diabetes is completely preventable and nearly 100 percent curable. Some of the signs that you may be diabetic are:

  • Excessive thirst.
  • Extreme hunger even after eating.
  • Nausea and possible vomiting.
  • Unusual weight gain or loss.
  • Increased fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Slow healing of wounds.
  • Frequent infections (skin, urinary, and vaginal).
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet.

Diabetes is NOT a disease of blood sugar, but rather a disorder of insulin and leptin signaling that evolves over a long period of time, moving first into a prediabetes state, and then to full-blown diabetes if left unchecked. One reason mainstream medicine largely fails in treating diabetes with anything other than insulin shots or pills, and sometimes even worsens it – is because it refuses to act on this underlying cause. Insulin sensitivity is key in this matter.

The purpose of your pancreas is to produce the hormone insulin and secrete it into your bloodstream, thereby regulating your glucose at the levels your body needs to live. The function of insulin, then, is to act as a source of energy for your cells. In other words you NEED insulin to live, and normally your pancreas does its job of providing your body with just the right amount. But certain risk factors and other circumstances may put your pancreas at risk of not functioning properly.

I’ve simplified the various effective ways to increase your insulin and leptin sensitivity and to prevent or reverse diabetes – into six easy, highly doable steps.

  1. Exercise. Contrary to prevailing recommendations of shunning exercise during illness, staying fit is highly important in getting diabetes and other diseases under control. In fact, it is one of the fastest, most powerful ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance.
  2. Eliminate grains and sugars and ALL processed foods, especially those made with fructose and HFCS. Conventional diabetes treatment has failed over the last 50 years partly because of its seriously flawed dietary principles. Eliminate ALL sugars and grains – even healthful ones like whole, organic, or sprouted grains from your diet. Avoid breads, pasta, cereals, rice, potatoes, and corn which is, in fact, a grain. Until your blood sugar gets under control, you may want to restrict fruits as well. It’s particularly important to eliminate processed meats. In a groundbreaking study comparing processed meats to unprocessed meats for the first time,7,8 researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that eating processed meat is associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, they did not find any risk of heart disease or diabetes among individuals eating unprocessed red meat such as beef, pork, or lamb.
  3. Besides fructose, eliminate trans fats, which increase your risk for diabetes and inflammation by interfering with your insulin receptors.
  4. Get plenty of omega-3 fats from a high-quality, animal-based source.
  5. Monitor your fasting insulin level. Every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar, your fasting insulin level, or A1-C, should be between 2 and 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin sensitivity is.
  6. Get probiotics. Your gut is a living ecosystem of a multitude of bacteria. The more good bacteria you have, the stronger your immunity and the better your overall function will be. Optimize your gut flora by consuming fermented foods like raw organic cheese and cultured vegetables. You may also take a high-quality probiotic supplement.

I strongly advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. However, it would be wise for most people to limit fructose to 15 grams or less, as it is virtually guaranteed you will be getting hidden sources of fructose from just about any processed food you eat.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a part of the diabetes epidemic. I believe that virtually anyone can achieve good health and longevity by following holistic lifestyle strategies. Consuming a balanced, whole food diet, getting enough high-quality sleep, including a well-rounded exercise routine in your daily schedule, and effectively managing your stress – all these can help you stay physically and mentally healthy. To avoid becoming a dismal statistic, you merely need to make some lifestyle changes and be mindful about your habits from day to day. In fact, just resolving to be healthier may reduce your risk for diabetes.

Locally, Kenya Diabetes Management and Information centre (DMI) has received massive support for their initiatives aimed at patient education to mitigate the prevalence of diabetes. This year Safaricom Foundation has contributed Kshs 26 million to the DMI to organize medical camps for health maintenance. Safaricom has also been partnering with Kenyan communities and institutions to improve and transform lives.  Over the last 12 years, it contributed over Ksh 167 million towards various programs which have featured 119 free medical camps countrywide promoting health and wellness.

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