Monday, January 5, 2009

Are You Eating Your Way To Diabetes?

We all hear about the rapid increase in people with Type 2 Diabetes. The number of people with this disease in the U.S. has doubled in the last 20 years. If you do not have this type of diabetes, mostly caused by obesity, do not think you won't, especially if you are overweight or obese.

Theoretically, we could all have Type 2 Diabetes at a certain weight. As our fat cells, also called adipose cells, get bigger they release hormones that can trigger the high blood sugar of diabetes. Some people are more genetically prone to diabetes than others but anyone can get the disease if they stress the body with too much body fat. You could be eating your way to diabetes if your weight is going up.

How could you tell this? There are some early markers of developing diabetes. What is your fasting blood sugar? Diabetes is a level of 126 or higher. Levels of fasting blood sugar from 100 to 125 is called prediabetes, clearly on your way. Normal fasting blood sugars are between 60 and 90. Is yours closer to 90 than 60? Has your fasting sugar gone up since you gained weight. What about a sugar between 90 and 100? Many diabetes specialists think that any level above 90 should be considered prediabetes. I agree.

What happens to your blood sugar 1-2 hours after a meal? Above 200 is definitely diabetes. Above 140 is considered another type of prediabetes. Has yours gone up? You may not have diabetes yet, or even the official levels for prediabetes, but you may be on your way. Better to find that out before it is too late. The complications of cardiovascular blockage leading to heart disease begin before the blood levels reach the diabetic level.

Another thing to watch is your HDL (good) cholesterol. As your fat cells expand, the hormones released cause the HDL cholesterol to go down, which is not a good thing. The LDL (bad) cholesterol often goes up with weight gain as does the total cholesterol. If you have gained weight, you might recheck your lipid panel and see if it has changed from previously.

Realize that you too could get diabetes if your weight is going up. Maybe the scare of developing this disease is enough to motivate you to exercise, control your eating, and lose weight. You do not catch diabetes, you develop it. Find out if that is happening to you and do something about it if you are moving toward diabetes.

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