James K. Robinson
It's the American way of life
The United States Department of Health's Weight-control Information Network, ironically that's WIN for short, and other health authorities, report that more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese, with more than one-third obese for sure. Our population is unhealthy and it is getting worse.
And how about you?
If you are overweight, now reaching age 40 years or older and follow a diet that includes all the wrong foods -- sugary, sweet foods and beverages and too much saturated fatty food -- then it does not take a fortune teller or a crystal ball to predict that your future includes the likelihood of developing type-2 diabetes, a disease defined by higher than normal blood sugars.
And if you don't know anything about diabetes, be warned, left untreated it's a killer, and even with treatment, the quality of life is much impaired unless the condition can really be brought under tight control - there is no cure, life will never be the same again.
What causes type-2 diabetes is uncertain, there may be heredity or other unknown factors involved but what is known is that there is a definite association and link to being overweight or obese. And there is also a pre-diabetic condition that predisposes those diagnosed as such to the same complications of heart disease, stroke and other typical diabetic complications. And pre-diabetes often leads to the full type-2 diabetes anyway unless treated and reversed.
At the top of WIN's list of risk factors related to being overweight and obese is type-2 diabetes, the rest of the WIN's risk factors are shown below:
- type 2 diabetes
- coronary heart disease
- high LDL ("bad") cholesterol
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- gallbladder disease
- osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
- sleep apnea and other breathing problems
- some forms of cancer (breast, colorectal, endometrial, and kidney)
- complications of pregnancy
- menstrual irregularities
Those are just some of the alarming complications and to that list, especially related to type-2 diabetes, can be added such serious conditions as kidney disease and kidney failure, eye disease and blindness, gangrene and lower limb amputations.
The foregoing is the scary stuff but what can be done?
See a doctor
Serious conditions such are described above need that attention of a doctor and health support team to direct treatment and provide qualified medical and dietary advice.
But here is some advice given by the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)
The NDIC states that a lot can be done to lower the chances of developing diabetes. It is necessary to exercise regularly, reduce fat and calorie intake, and lose some weight in order to help reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. And in doing so it can also help achieve a lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, necessary for better health.
It is often said that "You are what you eat", and certainly, what you eat has a big impact on health. Body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol can be controlled by making wise food choices.
The goals for an overweight person are to:
- Reach and maintain a reasonable body weight, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no greater than 25. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body weight in relation to height.
- Make wise food choices most of the time, avoid high glycemic index foods where possible. The Glycemic Index numerically ranks food items according to the speed in which they are reduced by the body's digestive system to the simple sugar called glucose. The higher the ranking, the faster glucose enters the bloodstream - and that causes the higher than normal blood sugars that are characteristic of type-2 diabetes.
- Be physically active every day, subject to physical condition, age, health and infirmities.
It is not easy to make big changes to lifestyle but it is really worthwhile and rewarding to do so.
As a diabetic myself I face the problems and risks listed here. For more information on many diabetes topics please visit Normal Blood Sugars & Diabetes and for diabetic menu planning suggestions: Diabetic Menu Guide.