Vesagas: Understanding diabetes-A A +A
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
“PRE-DIABETES, also known as impaired glucose tolerance, is a reversible stage in the development of type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler of MedicineNet.com.
People with pre-diabetes are believed to have a significant risk in the development of full-blown diabetes, as reported in the three-year clinical study of the Diabetes Prevention Program Study in the US.
According to medical literatures, diabetes, which is derived from a Greek word meaning “going through” and the Latin word “mellitus” meaning “honey” or sweet,” has been existing since the first century AD when a certain Aretaeus, a prominent Greek physician, described a disorder characterized by intense thirst and voluminous honey-sweet urine.
Modern-day medicine defines diabetes as a metabolic disorder in which a person has high amounts of sugar in the blood either because the pancreas does not produce insulin or the body is unresponsive to the insulin produced.
“Insulin is a hormone that causes the cells in the liver, muscle and fat tissues to take up the sugar from the blood and thereby regulating levels in a constant proportion that maintains a healthy balance between body supply and demand for the said sugar that fuels the body’s metabolic processes vital to life,” explained Dr. George Hopkins, an American diabetologist.
According to a professional health journal, the classic manifestations of diabetes mellitus are frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger.
In 1997, the Expert Committee on the diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes in the US redefined the two types of diabetes: type 1 occurs when there is a loss of function of the pancreas’ cells that produce insulin resulting to insulin deficiency and type 2 that occurs when the body fails to recognize insulin thereby producing symptoms related to an increase blood sugar.
Of the two types of diabetes, type 2 accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all cases of diabetes, said Dr. Carol Porth, an American nurse-pathophysiologist.
Diabetologists claim that people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within the span of 10 years should they continue to live unhealthy lifestyle.
In the Philippines, diabetes is becoming one of the major public health issues. According to the 2003 Department of Health report, diabetes mellitus was the ninth leading cause of deaths in the Philippines, accounting to 14,196 deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030, there will be 7.8 million Filipinos with diabetes from the 2.8 million cases in 2000.
But social health studies insist that the figures estimated by WHO only covers those diabetics who have consulted their physician or health care provider thus the figures may be significantly higher as there is no clear account for the undiagnosed yet are actually diabetic individuals.
While experts agree that genes have a role to play in the development of diabetes, certain lifestyle practices such as sedentary living or unhealthy habits can predispose an initially healthy individual to become pre-diabetic and eventually lead to the development of diabetes mellitus.
Health professionals shared the following tips on diabetes prevention:
(1) Eat breakfast. Studies have shown that people who ate breakfast are 30 to 50 percent less likely to be overweight, which can predispose an individual to diabetes. According to nutrition experts, skipping breakfast raises the levels of appetite-stimulating hormone that makes one eat more all day long;
(2) If you’re depressed, get professional help. Researchers from Stanford University have found that depressed individuals develop insulin resistance up to 23 percent. Furthermore, depression can keep you from exercising and eating well;
(3) Maintain your ideal body weight. Research has shown that the abdominal fat that accompanies excessive weight can send dangerous chemical messages to your body cells that make them less sensitive to insulin. In another study, it has been found that losing seven percent of your excess body weight can lower diabetes risk by up to 58 percent;
(4) Practice a regular basic cardio workout. According to the research of Syracuse University in US, cardio workout such as brisk walking for 30 minutes daily three to five times a week can get rid of fat belly that can predispose you to diabetes;
(5) Have regular servings of fruits and vegetables. The Harvard School of Public health claims that regular servings of fruits and vegetables can cut the risk for diabetes by 34 percent;
(6) Cut soft drinks from your daily diet. The Boston university School of Medicine’s study found that a single serving of soft drinks and sweetened iced-tea can raise your risk for diabetes up to 44 percent; and
(7) Cut the time you spend on online games and televisions and engage in physical activities instead. Physical activity helps protect against diabetes. In a Harvard study of 40,000 respondents, it was found that those who brisk walked by 30 minutes a day and limited television to 10 hours a week cut diabetes risk by 40 percent.
Among the complications of diabetes are stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, blood pressure disturbances, liver problems and neurological problems, said the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse in the US.
(Comments may be sent to email@example.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 17, 2012.