Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes: What is it?
Pre-Diabetes is the result of having an elevated fasting blood sugar level which is not yet high enough to reach the criteria to be diagnosed as full blown Diabetes.
Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes are the final outcome of the body maintaining an abnormally elevated fasting blood glucose as the result of the inability to produce insulin or developing insulin resistance.
In most cases, an individual who has been diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes will go on to develop full scale Diabetes unless there are significant lifestyle changes.
The Role of Insulin and Why it is Crucial to Understand
Insulin is a hormone which acts as the “cleaning crew” for blood sugar or blood glucose; it is a product of the Beta cells which are found in the pancreas. Insulin’s main function is to reduce and moderate blood glucose by moving glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells.
When we eat, our blood sugar becomes elevated (glucose surge) and this stimulates the Beta cells of the pancreas to produce and release insulin
The importance of insulin is significant; in that without it, we simply cannot metabolize (use) any of the foods we consume and almost all human physiological processes would become compromised.
If the function of insulin becomes impaired such as in Diabetes a resulting cascade of multiple, detrimental processes will develop which will then trigger the onset of many chronic disease processes.
What is The Cause and Mechanism of Diabetes?
The two most common forms of Diabetes are: Type 1 IDDM (Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus) and Type 2 NIDDM (Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus).
Type 1 IDDM is the result of autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic cells (Beta Cells) which are responsible for producing insulin.
(Click here to learn more about autoimmunity.)
In Type 2 NIDDM there are two possible mechanisms at play. In the first scenario, the pancreas is not producing enough insulin to clear the glucose (blood sugar) from the blood and transport it into the cells and tissues. As a result, blood sugar will rise significantly.
In the second scenario, the pancreas is producing sufficient insulin levels; however, there is such an excessive amount of insulin circulating in the blood due to consistent high blood sugar levels that the cells become desensitized or “numb” to the insulin. This scenario results in diabetes due to “Insulin Resistance” and again will result in abnormally elevated levels of blood glucose.
What are the Long Term Consequences of Living with Diabetes?
A common myth is that as long as you take your medication with diabetes, you will live a normal life. If only implementing a pharmaceutical approach – this understanding of Diabetes couldn’t be any farther from the truth.
The fact is, is that there are no medications which can cure diabetes, but only attempt to control symptoms. The majority of drugs which are used to treat diabetes focus on attempting to increase the sensitivity of the tissues to insulin, or to add synthetic insulin to the body directly.
To be able to understand the consequences of living with diabetes while only using a pharmaceutical approach, we must focus on the role of insulin and insulin resistance.
In the majority of cases, adding synthetic insulin over time only increases insulin resistance and using medications in an attempt to increase insulin sensitivity have proven to be only temporarily effective.
In addition to the dangerous side effects of diabetic drugs which have long term irreversible health consequences, the underlying disease process will continue, and in some cases, can speed up.
I Have Been Diagnosed with Diabetes and/or Pre-Diabetes. Is There Anything that Can be Done?
YES. Type 2 Diabetes account for 90-95% of all diabetic cases. I continuously stress to my clients that this is a “good” thing. This is because Type 2 NIDDM is exclusively lifestyle dependent; whereas Type 1 IDDM (as stated above) is the result of an autoimmune disorder.
Since the majority of diabetic cases are the outcome of poor unhealthy lifestyle habits, they can be completely prevented with safe interventions and effectively supported through lifestyle and nutritional changes. To learn more on how you can prevent and manage this disease through safe and healthy techniques contact us, or click here to find out more.