Diabetes is an epidemic in this country. With more than 29 million diagnoses and 1.4 million new cases every year, it’s a ballooning emergency that is causing much suffering and driving up health-care costs. I’ve compiled a list of diabetes facts that I hope will help you on the path to safe, natural blood sugar control.
Diabetes Facts: Diet
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that what you eat drastically affects blood sugar. The following diabetes facts concern foods that can help or hinder blood sugar control.
- Eating more home-cooked meals is linked with a reduced risk of developing diabetes.
- A low fiber diet is associated with elevations in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, in people with diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
- Drinking several cups of green tea per day has been linked with a 20 percent reduced risk of diabetes.
- A high intake of yogurt is associated with a 28 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Frequent consumption of hot dogs and other processed meats doubles the risk of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.
- Flaxseed lignans improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Pomegranate juice reduces risk of arterial disease in people with diabetes.
- People who regularly eat fiber- and potassium-rich beans have a reduced risk of hypertension, abdominal obesity, and diabetes.
- Eating less than 20 grams of fiber per day is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Facts: Lifestyle
The things we do—or don’t do—day in and day out greatly affect our health. The best part about lifestyle changes is that you have control over most of these measures, and you can start them today to improve your blood sugar control and overall well-being.
- Walking just 30 minutes a day appears to be as protective as more intense workouts against diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Excess abdominal fat isn’t just a cosmetic issue. It is also linked to a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and early death.
- Big thighs and hips are associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes while fat around the midsection increases risk.
- Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increase risk of diabetes.
- A review of 37 studies involving 40,129 patients reveals that a low-glycemic diet reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease, and breast cancer.
- Dutch researchers found elevated cortisol, the “stress hormone,” to be as significant a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease as hypertension and abdominal obesity.
- Nine out of 10 new cases of diabetes are attributable to lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, alcohol abuse, and/or excess weight.
Diabetes Facts: Supplements
Did you know that targeted nutritional supplements provide a safe, effective, natural way to regulate blood sugar? It’s true! Here are a handful of diabetes facts relating to supplements.
- Berberine has been shown in clinical trials to work just as well as metformin (Glucophage), the most popular prescription drug for type 2 diabetes.
- Irish researchers found that just 500 mg of vitamin C a day lowered blood pressure and arterial stiffness in patients with type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C also helps stave off diabetic complications.
- A higher intake of vitamin K is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.
- Gymnema sylvestre, a popular herb for diabetes, stimulates significant increases in insulin secretion in the pancreas.
- People with diabetes who took resveratrol supplements for three months had notable drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Diabetes Facts: Prescription Drugs
Not only do prescription drugs used to treat diabetes cause a variety of health problems, many other prescribed meds can increase your risk of developing blood sugar concerns. Here are some eye-opening diabetes facts concerning prescription drugs.
- Insulin and oral diabetes meds cause more ER visits and hospitalizations than any other drugs besides blood thinners.
- Januvia and related diabetes drugs were recently linked with severe joint pain.
- Use of the diabetes drugs Actos and Avandia for more than a year doubles to triples risk of hip fractures.
- Depression increases risk of type 2 diabetes, and taking a combination of antidepressants almost doubles that risk.
- Vitamin B12 deficiencies are common in people with diabetes, especially those taking metformin.
- Statin drugs double the risk of death from stroke in patients with diabetes-related kidney disease.
- The diabetes drug Actos has been shown to increase risk of bladder cancer.
- Antipsychotic drugs, increasingly used for ADHD and depression, triple the risk of diabetes in children.
- British researchers found that beta blockers (drugs used to treat hypertension) increase the risk of diabetes by 50 percent.
- Diabetes drugs Avandia and Actos are required to carry a black box warning stating they increase risk of heart failure.
Diabetes Facts: Women’s Health
Ladies, listen up: These diabetes facts are just for you.
- The longer a mother breastfeeds her baby, the lower her risk of type 2 diabetes.
- The more TV women watch, the greater the likelihood they will develop diabetes.
- Prolonged use of the diabetes drugs Avandia or Actos doubles women’s risk of fracture.
- Women who do strength training are much less likely to develop diabetes.
Diabetes Facts: Men’s Health
And gentlemen, take note of these diabetes facts regarding men’s health.
- Snacking in front of the tube can be harmful to your health. Men who watch more than 4 hours of TV a day double their risk of becoming diabetic.
- A recent study suggests that men who take aspirin regularly have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Men with diabetes or an enlarged prostate are more prone to urinary tract infections. Reduce risk by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, urinating after intercourse, and taking a cranberry extract.
Miscellaneous Diabetes Facts
Here are a few additional diabetes facts that didn’t fall into the categories above.
- Serious tooth or gum disease increases risk of diabetes.
- Only half of Americans with diabetes have their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control.
- Every two hours, one diabetes-related amputation is performed in America.
- Diabetes and hypertension, individually and especially in combination, significantly elevate glaucoma risk.
- More than two-thirds of Americans with diabetes are unaware of their increased risk of cardiovascular disease, yet two of three diabetics die of heart disease or stroke.
- Lower levels of melatonin are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Soaking in a warm tub may mimic the glucose-lowering effects of exercise. In one study, participants with type 2 diabetes who steeped in a whirlpool for 30 minutes a day for three weeks experienced a 13 percent drop in blood glucose levels.
Diabetes Facts Recap
I hope having all of these diabetes facts in one place can help you or a loved one get a handle on blood sugar concerns. To see if you’re a good candidate for Whitaker Wellness’ diabetes treatment program, call (866) 944-8253 or fill out this form.