Diabetes, relatively unknown 100 years ago, is now becoming so common. In 2005, it is estimated that 7% of the American population (20.8 million people) have diabetes. Diabetes used to occur in older adults but now is getting common in teenagers and people in their 20s.
The main cause of it is due to sedentary lifestyle and/or high refined sugar consumption:
- Type 1- lack of insulin. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, resulting elevated glucose levels in blood. Those who suffer from type 1 diabetes requires regular insulin injections. At the moment, there is no identified cure if all the beta cells in the pancreas have been destroyed.
- Type 2- insulin insensitivity. A sedentary person who have a uncontrollable sweet tooth is very susceptible to Type 2. What happens is that the person constantly take too much of sugar. This triggers the insulin to try to bring down the blood sugar levels and pushing it to the muscles and organs. After a while, the muscles no longer respond to the insulin and thus does not take in the sugar, causing elevated levels of sugar.
Many people, at least those I know, resigned to the fact that they will have to live with this condition for life.
It does not have to be that way for Type 2.
Do you know that there have been cases of people reversing the diabetes type 2 due to exercise and a change in diet? But please be careful if you are surfing for these stories in the net, because some could be selling certain type of product/ fad diet book that is out in the market without any conclusive/ adequate research. If it is really as effective as it claims, then our local government hospitals will be stocking that in their pharmacies- but these so-called miracle pills or herbs never make it to the local hospital’s pharmacies.
Role of Exercise & Change in Diet
- When you exercise, your working muscles need glycogen or glucose to supply energy. Once you make exercise a habit, you would have ‘trained’ your muscles to know that they need glucose- therefore, the muscles will now need glucose. Furthermore, as you exercise more frequently, your muscles will start storing the glucose in the form of glycogen, to recruited immediately during workouts.
- A diabetic person needs to manage proper food intake by reducing intake of high glycemic food (refined sugars, white rice) that converts quickly into glucose in the bloodstream. One exception is during exercise to ensure hypoglycemic situation (low blood sugar levels) does not happen. Dietary requirements varies from one person to the next and it’s best to consult a dietican for a personalised diet plan.
- Timing of carbohydrate/type of carbohydrate intake is important during exercise.
- Exercise has been shown to help people manage their food cravings.
- Try to think positive and remove as many stressors in your life as possible.
Precaution- get a check-up done before starting an exercise program
When you a diabetic, it’s important that you get a physical checkup done before beginning an exercise program. This is especially so if you are overweight and have not been active for a long time. Why is that so?
You see, diabetic patients have to always be careful about injury or hemorrhage. Due to weight, inactivity and high intake of fats, some areas of the arteries may be partially blocked. If that happens and a person starts to exercise, the blood pressure may cause certain vessels to be ruptured internally. For a normal person, it maybe ok but for a diabetic, it opens up the possibility of infection. That’s is why the physician has to check and rule out any blockages or other conditions that may make exercise dangerous. Sadly, many fitness center sales consultant, in their haste to sign up the customer, either choose not to inform or are just ignorant of the fact. Still, don’t let that worry you-most of the time, the physician would probably clear you and even encourage you to get more exercise.
Other precautions in exercising: buy proper footwear (to ensure no blisters), monitor glucose levels, keep snacks at hand (in case blood sugar drops), do not inject insulin right before exercise, do not exercise during insulin peak activity and wear the medical ID tag (all diabetics are given an ID tag)
Reversing Diabetes Type 2
It is possible when a diabetic person exercise regularly, accompanied by sensible eating (see a dietican if you need a food presription)- with permanent weight loss, the blood sugar and insulin levels are regularised. One day, the test results may show that the person is no longer diabetic and thus no longer require medications/insulin shots.
There’s a very inspiring article The Art of Healing by Dr Amir Farid Isahak that talks about a patient of his who reversed diabetes through holistic cure. I strongly recommend that you read the article as it is written sincerely from a medical doctor who now practices holistic cures after years of seeing patient suffers with no improvement.
Even if the condition is not reversed, the quality of life will definitely improve:
- Type 1- Better regulated levels of blood sugar.
- Type 2- increase muscle sensitivity towards insulin- so it no longer just rejects the blood sugar when the insulin tries to push it into the muscles (to explain in layman terms)
American Diabetes Association provides lots of useful information and support for diabetics.
- Diabetes- the Holistic Strategy by Dr Amir * strongly recommended*
- Nia Renni- reading her success story has inspired me to write this article
- My teacher told me that one of his students, who is 17 yrs old and used to need to inject himself with insulin, is now no longer diabetic- because he started to exercise
- Video of Best Exercise for Type 2 Diabetes
- Video of Dr Michael Bihari on Managing Type 2 Diabetes
- Video to explain about Diabetes
Content is revised and republished on 1 June 2008