Literatus: Footnotes to type 2 diabetes

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014


“BEWARE the Ides of March,” wrote William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar. The warning signs below, however, are not of the Ides of March but diabetes mellitus, or Type 2 diabetes.

First, thirst increases, often accompanied with dry mouth, increased appetite, frequent urination (usually every hour) and unusual weight loss or gain.

Then headaches—and at times with blurred vision and fatigue—appear. Troubling infections manifest as slow-healing of cuts or sores, frequent yeast infection or urinary tract infection and itchy skin, especially in the groin area.

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Sexual dysfunctions appear as damage increases in blood vessels and nerve endings in the genitals due to high blood sugar levels. The loss of genital sensation makes orgasm difficult, coupled with vaginal dryness in women (about one in three women with Type 2 diabetes) and impotence in men (35-70 percent of men with diabetes).

Moreover, Type 2 diabetes has subtle symptoms. About one out of three people do not know they have it. And it strikes people of all ages.

The good news is there are many factors you can ably control if you want to. These are overweight(especially waist fat), sedentary lifestyle, smoking and diet with red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy products and sweets. Most of the time, dietary control is enough to bring down your abnormal blood cholesterol and fats profile, such as high-density lipoprotein (HDL; the good cholesterol) of lower than 35 mg/dL and/or triglyceride of over 250 mg/dL. The point is to reduce your fat, protein and carbohydrate intake should your blood test results hit the abnormal levels mentioned above. That means you have to monitor these yourself and take action right away.

Exercise can both lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as increase your good cholesterol levels.

Stress levels also must be controlled. Stress causes blood pressure to rise, and increases glucose levels in blood as part of the “fight or flight” human defense mechanism against stress. Relaxation techniques (deep breathing, meditation or visualization) and ventilation methods (talking to a friend, family member, counselor, or members of the clergy) had been known to control stress.

Medication will be the last resort in early stages diabetes development, and when your doctor has no other option but to prescribe it. Latest development in this area noted the inability of atorvastatin (10 mg for 12 weeks) to improve pancreatic beta-cell function and insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes patients. The pilot Goyal study appeared in last month’s issue of the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.

Stephen Furst, director of the movie Title to Murder, counseled: “The way to deal with the devil of obesity and diabetes is literally one day at a time.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 02, 2014.

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