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Diabetes

A lifestyle disease

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the Western world affecting an increasingly larger percentage of the population. It's primarily a lifestyle disease caused by compulsive eating of processed foods, excessive sugar, alcohol and a lack of exercise, it's not contagious, but hereditary factors can cause diabetes to occur within family groups.

Other causes include depression, ignorance about how to live well and the non availability of healthy foods. People who are depressed exacerbate their problems by eating instead of having a healthy social interaction. In today's world, there is little or no education about healthy food choices and even when there is, healthy foods are not available in the poorest neighbourhoods. Where people through economic necessity or as a last resort live on processed foods, diabetes and other health problems are guaranteed.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to control the amount of glucose in the blood. The level of blood glucose is controlled by insulin – a hormone produced by the pancreas. (So we can also say that it is a breakdown in function of the pancreas). Many natural health practitioners think that diabetes begins as hypoglycemia which is a simpler blood sugar imbalance.

With diabetes there is a high level of blood glucose which can damage the arteries and nerves in the body. It is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. It also contributes to impotence, stroke, heart disease and early death. Diabetes in pregnancy remains a leading cause of congenital abnormalities, stillborn and spontaneous abortions.

There are three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes which affects an estimated 11,000 people in New Zealand. It is more common in European people than Maori or Pacific people, Most people with type 1 diabetes develop it as children or teenagers.
  • Type 2 diabetes which affects an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 people in New Zealand have type 2 diabetes. Maori and Pacific people are almost three times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as European people are. Most people with type 2 diabetes develop it after the age of 40. People over 40 years who are overweight or inactive (especially Maori, Pacific Islands or Asian people), are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in some women while they are pregnant. Blood glucose levels usually return to normal once the baby is born, but women who have gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Diabetes in pregnancy remains a leading cause of congenital abnormalities, stillbirths and miscarriages.

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of this disease and was seen in the past in adults over 40.  However, with today's fast way of living and fast food, children and younger people are being diagnosed with it.

It is linked closely to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and being obese with a lack of physical inactivity which greatly increases the change of being victim to this disease.

There is no one cause for diabetes. Obesity (especially around the stomach), lack of physical activity and excess food intake, especially fat and sugar are the main risk factors that can be changed. Diabetes also has a hereditary component, and runs in families. It is more common in Maori, Pacific and Asian people. Its prevalence increases with age. Up to one in six of those over 60 years have diagnosed diabetes.

To Prevent Diabetes:

  1. Be physically active as type 2 diabetes is linked to inactivity
  2. Eat a wide variety of natural foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods.
  3. Avoid sugar, sweets and all processed foods.

Physiology

When we eat any types of food, our body converts the food to energy (ATP), then the Energy  (ATP)  is used by the Human Cell.  ATP is the simplest form of energy that the cells in our body can use to do their normal daily actives.  For example, the Human cells uses ATP for a wide range of  like:

  • Muscle contraction for locomotion moments
  • Rebuilding and repairing of tissues
  • Digestion and Transpiration of food, to everything else that happen in the body that hold homeostasis.
    However, With diabetes, The body has difficulties using food properly because it either fails to make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin correctly.
  • Insulin is a hormone that helps convert food into energy.  For Example, after eating a meal, a person blood surge raises above homeostasis levels.  So, the receptors in the human arteries pick up the increase of surge levels.  After, the Receptors fire off a signal is sent to the to a brain, which then, the brain sends a message to the pancreas to release insulin because insulin decreases the  blood surge levels.  However, People that are victims to diabetes have a hard time controlling blood sugar levels.

Treating diabetes

For type I diabetes, insulin often has to be taken and it may not be curable. For type II diabetes, some people resort to insulin but the pharmaceutical industry has a range of medications to treat the related symptoms.

Medications are also used to increase insulin output by the pancreas, decrease the amount of glucose released from the liver, increase the sensitivity (response) of cells to insulin, decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine, and slow emptying of the stomach, thereby delaying nutrient digestion and absorption in the small intestine.

However many people suffer in type II diabetes have completely resolved the issue by strictly avoiding all processed foods, sugar and sugary products, and adopting an almost a organic vegan diet. Because diabetes is also associated with depression, this must also be treated.

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