Breaking Down Diabetes, Part I
Chances are you’ve heard about the dramatic increase in diabetes in the United States, but did you know that eighteen of our 50 states saw a 100 percent or higher increase in diabetes diagnoses between 1995 and 2010? And that’s out of 42 total states that saw at least a 50 percent increase. That astronomical number continues to grow and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that unless something drastically changes, it’s likely 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes by 2050.

We’ve got to hit the brakes on this disease now, and there’s no better time than American Diabetes Month. Take a moment and review some of the facts shared by Dr. Steve Dotson, D.C., Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Winchester

Diabetes & Glucose

Diabetes & Glucose

“Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases that affect how your body uses glucose, commonly known as blood sugar,” Dr. Steve explains. “Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.”

Type 1 vs. Type 2

“In type 1 diabetes the pancreas produces little to no insulin, causing the diabetic patient to be reliant on lifelong, daily insulin therapy,” Dr. Steve shares. “The most common form, type 2, occurs when your body is either resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin for a healthy glucose level.” Both of these types of diabetes commonly cause symptoms such as frequent urination, and extreme thirst and hunger. Diabetes can cause long-term damage to the body, raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, and can affect the kidneys, eyes, nerves, digestive system and the skin.

At this time, neither type is reversible—per se—once you have diabetes, you must always carefully watch and control your glucose levels. But the good news is that many type 2 diabetics have been able to avoid, decrease or eliminate diabetic medication with healthy lifestyle changes and can continue to live a normal life in remission.  

Prediabetes & Gestational Diabetes

Two other types of diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes, are potentially reversible—which is good news considering 79 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition where your blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. “Nearly all type 2 diabetics are prediabetic first,” Dr. Steve states. “And in this stage, early treatment can result in normal blood glucose levels and prevent progression to type 2.”

Gestational diabetes (GDM) occurs during pregnancy due to the body’s inability to make enough insulin needed for the pregnancy and affects about 18 percent of pregnancies. Typically, GDM goes away after the pregnancy, but some women do go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Some Risk Factors

While an exact cause is not yet known, there is plenty of evidence pointing to several different risk factors. Anyone can develop diabetes, at any age, but your risk is higher if you:

  • are age 45 or older
  • are prediabetic
  • have a family history of diabetes
  • are overweight
  • are sedentary
  • have high blood pressure
  • have low HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • had/have gestational diabetes
  • are African-American, Hispanic/Latino-American, Asian-American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, American Indian

 Read Part II for important information on treating and preventing diabetes.