How to overcome the challenges of Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic, incurable disease that occurs when the body doesn’t produce any or enough insulin, leading to an excess of sugar in the blood. Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas, which helps the cells of the body use the glucose (sugar) in food. Cells need this energy in order to function properly.

Sugar builds up in the bloodstream and is excreted in the urine.
Eventually, the high blood sugar caused by excessive amounts of glucose in the blood leads to a variety of complications, particularly for the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

There are three main types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live.

Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational  diabetes – Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.

Diabetes and Your Blood Sugar

Diabetes is classically diagnosed by one of three different mechanisms.Hemoglobin A1C (Hg A1C): This is a form of hemoglobin (Hg) or red blood cell that is measured to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over a 3 month period of time.  When Hg is exposed to plasma glucose there is a glycation reaction that takes place.  As blood sugar increases the fraction of glycated Hg increases.

Healthy HgA1C levels are considered below 5.7 although most functional medicine doctors like to see them below 5.4.  Hg A1C levels above 6.5 are clinically diagnosed as diabetes mellitus.  From 5.7-6.5 it is considered pre-diabetic.

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG):  This test measures fasting morning blood sugar levels.  The individual is instructed not to eat any food within 12 hours of the test.  So the individual typically told to skip breakfast and the test is usually performed in the mid-morning.

Fasting blood sugar under 100 mg/dl is considered normal and healthy although most functional medicine doctors want to see this under 90 mg/dl.  The range from 100-126 mg/dl is considered pre-diabetic and over 126 mg/dl is considered diabetic

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT):  This test measures an individual’s response to a glucose load.  They are instructed fast similar to the FPG and then they are given a measured dose of glucose (75g for adults) to consume within 5 minutes and the blood is measured both immediately after the drink is finished and 2 hours afterwards.  The 2 hour measurement is major recording.

Normal OGTT levels should be under 140 mg/dl although most functional medicine doctors want to see them under 120 mg/dl.  The pre-diabetic range is from 140-200 mg/dl and over 200 mg/dl is considered diabetic.

Tricks for avoiding diabetes

Eat brown rice instead of whiteWhole grains are healthier than processed carbs when it comes to preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. According to a landmark study of about 200,000 people, replacing just one-third of a daily serving of white rice with brown rice may lower your risk of diabetes by 16%. Other whole grains like whole wheat and barley might lower that risk even further, by up to 36%. Other studies have found that brown rice can help control blood sugar and insulin levels better than white rice.
Whole grains like brown rice have more fiber, minerals, and vitamins than refined grains. And one of the compounds that help rice grow may reduce nerve and blood vessel damage from existing diabetes. Soak dry rice in water overnight to awaken these compounds.
In addition to whole grains, experts recommend people reduce sugar and salt; choose healthy carbs over unhealthy ones (an apple instead of a donut); and eat leaner meats instead of those with more saturated fat (chicken or fish instead of red and processed meats) to reduce their risk.

Sprinkle on the spices It's not just the food you eat, but how you spice it that can affect your diabetes risk. A study on spices common in the famously healthy Mediterranean Diet found that virtually all of them—basil, cumin, oregano, parsley, and sage—can help lower blood sugar and boost insulin production, a double whammy when it comes to diabetes.
And when researchers from the University of Georgia tested 24 common herbs and spices, they found that their antioxidants could prevent tissue damage and inflammation caused by high blood sugar. Cloves and cinnamon, in particular, stood out.
Another reason to sprinkle on the spices? They're an excellent substitute for sodium, which is a prime culprit in raising blood pressure. People who have diabetes have a higher risk of high blood pressure, which can contribute to heart attacks and strokes, so cutting back on sodium is a good idea.

Focus on fiber Not only keep blood sugar levels down, it can actually lessen spikes caused by other carbs. Expert organizations recommend 25 to 50 grams of fiber a day for people with diabetes, which is much higher than the 15 grams most Americans ingest.
How to reach your fiber quota? In addition to whole grains, like brown rice, oats, barley, and quinoa, focus on other foods that are high in fiber, such as beans and veggies.
"Combined with protein and whole grains they can add a lot of bulk to a meal without a lot of extra calories," says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet.
"They can also make a nice addition to soups and stews."

A rare condition called diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus, although it has a similar name. It’s a different condition in which your kidneys remove too much fluid from your body.

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