Diabetes is a fast growing and worldwide epidemic. We hear it all the time from all forms of media and social platforms. Yet, diabetes has not waned in recent past decades, quite the opposite. Therefore, it is logical to look at diabetes in its infancy so as to nip it in the bud. In this article, we will look at a grey area that allows for no further missteps if you wish to avoid the road to diabetes. This grey area is Pre-Diabetes, a state of certain metabolic conditions that LEADS to diabetes if nothing is done to address them.
An astounding amount of information has been collected about this condition thanks to the amount of well-funded scientific research centers and worldwide organizations that dedicate their daily hours to discover new developments in diabetes. It has been overwhelmingly concluded that pre-diabetes is the greatest predictor of developing diabetes mellitus, a deadly disease that claims the lives of millions per year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Do not despair though, the good news as far as pre-diabetes is concerned, is that it is very much preventable.
Rise of Pre-Diabetes
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, two culprits who deservedly have their own place in the history of medical literature, are so permutated into our modern way of life that maintaining recommended diet and exercise regimes becomes insurmountable for people to follow through on their healthy goals. Where young kids and young adults were found outside playing ball, riding on their bicycles and running about, they are now found increasingly static. Even for adults, modern technology has engulfed many former forms of entertainment to attract the focus and attention of your average person. Watching television, surfing the web, investing time in social media and video games are one of many sedentary activities that are keeping millions upon millions from avoiding pre-diabetes. Not that there is any wrong with those activities medically speaking, rather, a balance should be the goal. After all, it is not necessary to exercise for hours on end every day and limit yourself to a daily carrot. Exercise should be progressively included if you are not used to it. Overall, a good number is 30 minutes’ worth of cardio though this varies from person to person.
The modern adult is a busy creature and our daily caloric needs are quite high for a mammalian being. We do not have that much time to invest in healthy and carefully planned cooking. We have deadlines and schedules to keep, add to the fact that there are so many unhealthy options in today’s food industry just a few blocks or miles away, our diet has been shot. Obesity is prevailing because the conditions are ripe for its persistent presence. Despite all the conscience raising scientific data and a myriad of great diets to choose from, we sometimes simply feel overwhelmed. Humans are hard wired to be creatures of habit. This is why “lose weight super-fast diets” fail to receive much recognition from nutritionists and scientists, because it is simply not sustainable in the long run. Diet fads that promise immediate weight loss, with no eye towards the future, fail to address that which matters most, that is, changing our dietary habits and physical outputs.
Insulin and glucose take the stage
If Pre-Diabetes is a precursor to full blown diabetes mellitus, then we can measure where one stands in the diabetic discussion. Insulin is an endocrine hormone produced by the pancreas. Part of its work description is to pick up glucose molecules found in the blood stream and chauffer them to our cells for energy use. When we consume food, our digestive system breaks it down to usable form (glucose). When this happens, the pancreas is alerted and releases insulin. Hence, while our bodies digest food, insulin levels rise. As food becomes scarce, so does glucose and insulin diminishes with it. When someone has a diet that caused them to be obese (generally considered a BMI greater than 25) insulin is over-timing it in double shifts to handle all the glucose molecules found in the blood stream. This leads to a curious behavior; our cells slowly become resistant to insulin. As our resistance to insulin increases, we lose our ability to control the blood glucose population and thus, high blood sugar is born.
Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when a range of blood glucose and insulin levels are met but are not high enough to be considered fully expressed diabetes. Pre-diabetes is confirmed after a blood glucose test (after 8-14 hours of fasting) gives a reading between 6.0 mmol/L – 6.9 mmol/L (WHO). Diabetes is right over the fence, with the 7.0 mmol/L mark as a defining line.
Pre-Diabetes is the I-95 to Diabetes. They’re a condition as a result of a confluence of bio-factors that has caused the medical community and its corresponding patients much turmoil and stress. The bright side is, we have power. The choice to change our diet and go outside for a brisk walk is available every day. Working out does not have to mean a gym membership, it can mean going for a swim, hiking, bicycling, gardening, jogging/running, carpentering, having more sex with your partner (who said physical activity has to be tedious?) and the list goes on.
This is the bottom line. This is the reality we face when we succumb to some habits. And we didn’t even scratch the surface. Diabetes can get complicated, literally. Cardiac disease, blindness, kidney failure and neurological disorders can all be ramified to if you currently suffer from Diabetes. That is why it is so important to be aggressive with prevention and take steps now if you are in a Pre-Diabetic state. We have the ability to reverse course by taking steps to improve your diet (no starving or whacky gimmicks necessary) and we have the ability to increase our physically active endeavors. So, if you find yourself looking over that fence, listen to those who have crossed over into diabetes (most notably its severe forms) when they tell us “turn around and do not come back.”