Diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure, limb amputation, and new onset blindness in American adults. It is said that 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes and nearly one-third of them are undiagnosed. How devastating can this be?
Diabetes is a disorder that affects the way your body deals with the foods you eat. However, it is encouraging to know that diabetes can be managed by incorporating a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regime in your lifestyle.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, chapatis, yams and plantain; from sugar and other sweet foods; and from the liver which makes glucose.
Normally, carbohydrate foods are broken down into the sugar glucose. Sugar glucose travels in the blood (hence the name blood sugar) until it reaches your cells. Once the sugar glucose reaches your cells it is taken in and used for growth and energy. However, for this to happen, the hormone insulin must be present.
What is insulin?
- Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar in your bloodstream, whose main job is to keep the level of sugar in the bloodstream within a normal range.
- Insulin is produced by the pancreas and acts as a key that unlocks cells so that they can receive blood glucose.
- Insulin opens the door of the cells so glucose, the fuel you get from food can come inside and be converted into energy
- Insulin is vital for life.
- It is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.
If you have diabetes you are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than people without diabetes. In fact, 65 percent of diabetics die from heart attack or stroke.
- increased thirst
- going to the bathroom all the time, especially at night
- extreme tiredness
- weight loss
- genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
- blurred vision.
In diabetes, either the pancreas may produce insufficient insulin, or the body has lost its ability to use it effectively (this is called insulin resistance.) Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body without fulfilling its role as the body’s main source of fuel.
Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2:
Type 1 diabetes develop if the body is unable to produce any insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually appears before the age of 40. It is treated by insulin injections in addition to the recommendation of diet and regular exercise.
Type 2 diabetes develop when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (this is known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with being overweight.
Type 2 diabetes usually appear in people over the age of 40. However, type 2 diabetes often appear after the age of 25 in South Asian and African-Caribbean people. Recently, more children, some as young as seven are being diagnosed with the condition.
Lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, weight loss and increased physical activity are recommended treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Tablets and/or insulin may also be required to achieve normal blood glucose levels.
The main aim of treatment of both types of diabetes is to achieve blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as near to normal as possible. This, together with a healthy lifestyle, will help to improve well being and protect against long-term damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and major arteries.
Managing Diabetes: Begin with the ABCs
The National Diabetes Education Program suggests that you reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by working with your health care team to monitor three critical factors, which they have named the Diabetic ABCs.
“A” is for the A1C test.
This is a number that shows how well your blood glucose has been controlled over the last 3 months. Bad glucose control can hurt your eyes, kidneys and feet. The goal for most people is an A1C of less than 7. It should be checked at least twice a year.
A 1998 research study showed that increased in blood pressure could be prevented significantly by goji’s master molecule polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are very long-chain sugar molecules that provide nourishment for macrophages, the large white blood cells which are an important component of the body’s defense system against invading microbes and the malignant cells which form tumors.
Four polysaccharides discovered in Goji berries have not been found in any other fruit. The Goji polysaccharides enhance the body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps build muscle and repair skin cells. The LBP polysaccharide complex unique to Goji berries has been found to be a powerful secretagogue – a substance that stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH) by the pituitary gland.
One research study in China showed that the LBP polysaccharide facilitated the proliferation of stem cells and increased the number of monocytes in bone marrow. The LBP polysaccharide helps the monocytes convert to matured leukocytes.
The goal for most people is 130/80. High blood pressure can cause heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
Bad cholesterol (LDL) can oxidize and clog blood vessels, causing heart attack or stroke. Good cholesterol (HDL) helps to lower bad cholesterol. The goal for most people is LDL under 100 and HDL over 40.
Goji contains eta-sitosterol, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Its antioxidants keep cholesterol from oxidizing and forming arterial plaques. Goji increases exercise tolerance, stamina, and endurance. It also helps to eliminate fatigue, especially when receiving from illness.