Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by you, with support from your health care team (including your primary care doctor, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist, diabetes educator, and pharmacist), family, and other important people in your life. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health is worth it!
Checking your blood glucose levels several times a day helps you understand how your body responds to medications, exercise, and the foods you eat. When first starting out, keeping your glucose within a tight margin can often feel like hitting a moving target. It can suddenly spike with no reason or plummet the next day despite total adherence to your treatment.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) was first recognized as a disease around 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians and Indians, illustrating some clinical features very similar to what we now know as diabetes.1 DM is a combination of two words, “diabetes” Greek word derivative, means siphon - to pass through and the Latin word “mellitus” means honeyed or sweet. In 1776, excess sugar in blood and urine was first confirmed in Great Britain.2,3 With the passage of time, a widespread knowledge of diabetes along with detailed etiology and pathogenesis has been achieved. DM is defined as “a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from either the deficiency in insulin secretion or the action of insulin.” The poorly controlled DM can lead to damage various organs, especially the eyes, kidney, nerves, and cardiovascular system.4 DM can be of three major types, based on etiology and clinical features. These are DM type 1 (T1DM), DM type 2 (T2DM), and gestational DM (GDM). In T1DM, there is absolute insulin deficiency due to the destruction of β cells in the pancreas by a cellular mediated autoimmune process. In T2DM, there is insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. GDM is any degree of glucose intolerance that is recognized during pregnancy. DM can arise from other diseases or due to drugs such as genetic syndromes, surgery, malnutrition, infections, and corticosteroids intake.5-7
There are two major forms of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. This article focuses specifically on the prevention of type 2 diabetes since there is no know way to prevent type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes is virtually a pandemic in the United States. This information reviews the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes and reviews key points regarding prediction of those at risk for type 2 diabetes. It also is a review of what they can do about it.
Charlene Crawford has spent more than half of her life with diabetes. At 14, she was diagnosed with prediabetes. By 18, she had type 2. She was prescribed medication, which she barely took, and advised to make lifestyle changes, which she didn't do. But when she got pregnant, her priorities shifted. "Having a child makes you see things differently," says Crawford, a mother of two. "I wanted to be there for him and not be so tired and be active when he needed me."
Birth weight: There is a relationship between birth weight and developing diabetes, and it's the opposite of what one might intuitively think. The lower the birth weight, the higher the risk of type 2 diabetes. At the other end of the spectrum, a very high birth weight (over 8.8 pounds or 4 kg) also is associated with an increased risk. Additionally, mothers of infants who had a higher birth weight (over 9 pounds) are at increased risk for developing diabetes.

Contrary to popular belief, not all carbs are off-limits if you’re managing diabetes. In fact, the ADA recommends vitamin-rich whole grains in a healthy diabetes diet. These foods contain fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. Fiber can also promote feelings of fullness, preventing you from reaching for unhealthy snacks, and it can help slow the rise of blood sugar. Plus, whole grains contain healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are healthy for anyone, regardless of whether they have diabetes or not.


There’s more troubling news. The pre-cursors of Type 2 diabetes – pre-diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome – increase our risk of heart disease almost as much as Type 2 diabetes does. These pre-cursors are so widespread in 21st century America that scientists now estimate that the majority of the current U.S. population over the age of 65 has them. And they put people at dangerously high risk of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and dying prematurely.

Gestational diabetes is a condition that is first recognized during pregnancy and is characterized by high blood sugar. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Low blood sugar is prevented by hormones produced by the placenta during a woman's pregnancy. The actions of insulin are stopped by these hormones. Gestational diabetes is the result of the pancreas' inability to produce enough insulin to overcome the effect of the increase hormones during pregnancy.
Regular exercise is an equally important part. Not only can it help you maintain your ​ideal body weight, it can have a direct impact on your blood glucose control. This is because insulin resistance is closely linked to increased fat and decreased muscle mass. Muscle cells use insulin far more efficiently than fat, so​ by building muscle and burning fat, you can help lower and better control your blood glucose levels.
The best way to control Type 2 Diabetes through diet is eating in a metabolic pattern (eating every 2 1/2-3 hours) and eating low glycemic index/load diet (foods that break down slowly into glucose) to maintain blood sugar levels. The goal is to eat a balanced diet rich in lean animal proteins (chicken, turkey, fish), good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts), fiber, fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to balance the metabolism, hormones, and of course blood sugars. Fiber is key to maintain blood sugar. Most people get between 8-11 g of fiber a day and need between 35-45 g. Fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens) and fruit as well as whole grains like quinoa, whole brown rice, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat and whole oats) are filled with good fiber. It is best to avoid sugar, processed foods (packaged foods, breads), simple carbohydrates (white flours and grains), artificial sweeteners (Stevia in the Raw is ok), too much coffee, and sodas. Limit dairy which can affect blood sugars as well. Eating a variety of the above foods instead of the the same foods over and over again will also help maintain blood sugars.
A major reason why many people who attempt to control type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise turn back to medications is that lifestyle adjustments are hard to maintain over the long term. Jitahadi became a licensed Zumba instructor with this in mind. "I said, 'I know me and I don't want to let life get in my way of taking care of myself because I've done that before,' " she says. She's a Zumba instructor at her local YMCA. For the past year, she's also been a diabetes prevention lifestyle coach there, helping others reduce their risk for the disease.
Our advice to anyone trying to live healthier lifestyles is simple, including diabetics trying to manage their disease. Our mantra: Eat real food. What does that mean? Eat whole foods that grow from the ground, are picked from a bush or tree, or came from an animal. Whole vegetables, fruit (both preferably organic), and responsibly raised and fed animals are all a part of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. If one can stick to this simple rule and minimize or avoid processed and packaged foods and food-like items, you’ll find you look, feel, and perform better than ever.
The first thing to understand when it comes to treating diabetes is your blood glucose level, which is just what it sounds like — the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat and also is formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of the body, and is carried to them through the blood. Glucose gets into the cells with the help of the hormone insulin.
Research has found, too, that the Pritikin Program can actually reverse the Metabolic Syndrome. In 50% of adult Americans studied, the Pritikin Program reversed the clinical diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome, and in just three weeks. In research following children with the Metabolic Syndrome, 100% no longer had the syndrome within two weeks of starting the Pritikin Program.
Most people with diabetes find that it is quite helpful to sit down with a dietitian or nutritionist for a consult about what is the best diet for them and how many daily calories they need. It is quite important for diabetics to understand the principles of carbohydrate counting and how to help control blood sugar levels through proper diet. Below are some general principles about the diabetic diet.
According to American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations, it may be appropriate for people with type 2 diabetes whose A1Cs are close to target to manage diabetes with lifestyle changes alone for three to six months—provided their doctor deems them "highly motivated." If that doesn't work, metformin is typically the first in a long list of type 2 blood glucose–lowering medications to add to the diet and exercise plan.
Often, people with type 2 diabetes start using insulin with one long-acting shot at night, such as insulin glargine (Lantus) or insulin detemir (Levemir). Discuss the pros and cons of different drugs with your doctor. Together you can decide which medication is best for you after considering many factors, including costs and other aspects of your health.
#1. LEGUMES—Diets rich in legumes—soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans—are good for your blood sugar levels both short-term and long-term. The secret? "Resistant starches," which resist digestion in the small intestine and go straight to the colon, feeding the bacteria in your gut and in the process improve your body's response to insulin.  (These resistant starches are also in green bananas, uncooked oats, and potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. Rejoice, potato salad lovers who can control their portions.)
There is an association between the lengthening of the menstrual cycle and the risk for developing diabetes, particularly in obese women. In a national study of nurses, those who had a cycle length of greater than 40 days were twice as likely to develop diabetes then those who cycled every 26 to 31 days. The association is thought to be related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which also is known to be associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may be a precursor for type 2 diabetes.
Childhood obesity rates are rising, and so are the rates of type 2 diabetes in youth. More than 75% of children with type 2 diabetes have a close relative who has it, too. But it’s not always because family members are related; it can also be because they share certain habits that can increase their risk. Parents can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by developing a plan for the whole family:
Diabetes mellitus (DM) was first recognized as a disease around 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians and Indians, illustrating some clinical features very similar to what we now know as diabetes.1 DM is a combination of two words, “diabetes” Greek word derivative, means siphon - to pass through and the Latin word “mellitus” means honeyed or sweet. In 1776, excess sugar in blood and urine was first confirmed in Great Britain.2,3 With the passage of time, a widespread knowledge of diabetes along with detailed etiology and pathogenesis has been achieved. DM is defined as “a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from either the deficiency in insulin secretion or the action of insulin.” The poorly controlled DM can lead to damage various organs, especially the eyes, kidney, nerves, and cardiovascular system.4 DM can be of three major types, based on etiology and clinical features. These are DM type 1 (T1DM), DM type 2 (T2DM), and gestational DM (GDM). In T1DM, there is absolute insulin deficiency due to the destruction of β cells in the pancreas by a cellular mediated autoimmune process. In T2DM, there is insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. GDM is any degree of glucose intolerance that is recognized during pregnancy. DM can arise from other diseases or due to drugs such as genetic syndromes, surgery, malnutrition, infections, and corticosteroids intake.5-7
Smoking 16 to 20 cigarettes a day or more can increase a person's risk of developing diabetes to more than three times that of nonsmokers. The exact reason for this isn't well understood. It may be that smoking directly decreases the body's ability to utilize insulin. Moreover, it has been observed that after smoking, blood sugar levels increase. Finally, there is also an association between smoking and body fat distribution, smoking tends to encourage the "apple" shape, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
The process of type 2 diabetes begins years or even decades before the diagnosis of diabetes, with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the beginning of the body not dealing well with sugar, which is the breakdown product of all carbohydrates. Insulin tells certain body cells to open up and store glucose as fat. When the cells stop responding your blood sugar rises, which triggers the release of more insulin in a vicious cycle. Insulin resistance is associated with abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL ("good cholesterol"). When these occur together, it is known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. It is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
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