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Diabetes Facts and Statistics
Almost 16 million Americans have diabetes, but about one-third of them are not aware of their condition. With the proper treatment and lifestyle changes, many of the possible complications, such as blindness, amputations, heart disease, kidney failure, and premature death, can be prevented or delayed.
The facts about diabetes leave no doubt about its seriousness. The seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes contributes to more than 193,000 deaths each year. * Currently, an estimated 10.3 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes—a sixfold increase over the past four decades—and another 5.4 million people have undiagnosed diabetes. † By 2025, there will be an estimated 300 million people with diabetes worldwide.* When heart disease and stroke are combined (as part of total cardiovascular diseases), diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death.
† Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Fact Sheet: National Estimates and General Information on Diabetes in the United States, Revised Edition, 1998.
The main increase is in Type II, Non-insulin Dependent (also called "adult onset") Diabetes. What is causing this unprecedented growth in diabetes? Diabetes is NOT a contagious disease.
Diabetes is an insulin associated condition and can lead to serious complications. Adequate levels of insulin are required for blood sugar (glucose) to get into the cells. A healthy pancreas gland produces a continuous variation of insulin to meet cellular needs. Diabetes is a chronic disorder of the insulin system and is broken down into two types.
Although both Type I and Type II are interchangeably referred to as "diabetes," they are really direct opposites. In Type I (IDD) the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin (that is why the individual will be insulin dependant). In Type II the insulin levels are typically elevated above normal and the pancreas is being stimulated to produce TOO MUCH INSULIN. This excessive production is not pancreatic dysfunction, but results because the body is signaling lack of insulin on the cellular level because the cellular receptor sites, or portals on the membranes of the cells, are not working properly to allow sugar into the cell.
Obesity is considered a major factor for Type II loss of insulin sensitivity and approximately 90 percent of Type II diabetics are obese. Despite a high success rate with diet and nutrition, most physicians still often use drugs or insulin. Since receptor site acceptance is the problem and NOT adequate insulin, drugs and/or insulin injections are of limited value and are illogical because they just futher increase insulin levels.
The exact cause of Type I diabetes is unknown, several theories exist, and it is possibly a combination of factors. One theory is that there is an hereditary predisposition coupled with an environmental factor like free radical damage, a viral infection, or an autoimmune system reaction.
Interesting evidence indicates that the nutrient intake of the mother during pregnancy plays a major role as to whether the child will develop Type I or Type II diabetes later in life. Exactly why that happens nobody knows, but research indicates that the defect in the insulin receptors probably occurs from damage brought about by chronic high and low fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels.
In addition, two population studies exist that directly correlate the mother's pregnancy eating patterns with the development of Type I or Type II diabetes in the unborn fetus later in life. Although this information is perhaps emotionally difficult for a mother to believe, it is none the less validly documented.
These studies further substantiate the need for prudent eating patterns and proper supplementation during pregnancy (a time when hormone and body changes can often cause just the opposite eating pattern).
Another theory is that childhood and adult consumption of high nitrate foods (hot dogs, bacon, ham, and other smoked/cured meats) exposes the pancreas to nitrate free radicals which directly damage the pancreas' insulin production ability. This theory exists because the nitrate compounds found in cured meats have conclusively induced diabetes in studies with animals.
Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies but disappears when a pregnancy is over. Gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and persons with a family history of diabetes. Obesity is also associated with higher risk. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for later developing type 2 diabetes. In some studies, nearly 40% of women with a history of gestational diabetes developed diabetes in the future.
"Other specific types" of diabetes result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses. Such types of diabetes may account for 1% to 2% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Diabetes itself does not kill, but some refer to it as "modern-day leprosy" because the disease complications are a "living hell."
Anyone with diabetes should take serious preventative measures each day to minimize the damage it causes, or in time their body will likely develop many of the following complications:
This list clearly shows that the diabetic is daily victimized by the disease and will become a permanent and frequent visitor to many medical offices and facilities.
The following is statistical information related to diabetes caused health problems:
Diabetes Nutritional Support Strategies
Effective help is available now for people who want to proactively manage diabetes to enjoy life to the fullest. The traditional approach is monitoring blood sugar and taking medications. But now a massive amount of nutrient research validates the effect diet and supplements can have for the body to heal. Lifestyle changes can also make a big difference.
A personal "Take Charge" approach with knowledge, treatment, and prevention strategies will make all the difference. Treatment is aimed at keeping blood glucose near normal levels at all times with minimal usage of drugs. Each treatment program must be individualized to address medical, psychosocial, and lifestyle issues.
Our Diabetes Self-management Program will give you nutrient association information as well as other helpful lifestyles changes for managing the disease. We also include the Center for Disease Control Framework for Diabetes Prevention and Control to help you understand on a large scale what the government is doing.
Mary Dan Eades, M.D.,