Diabetes type 2 is almost entirely preventable, but this debilitating disease has become a national epidemic. If it were infectious, public health officials would take quarantine measures. Diabetes is a crippling disease causing circulatory failure, renal failure, blindness and loss of limbs. About 24 million Americans are diabetic, but many don’t realized they have the disease, especially young people.
Typical body type of type 2 diabetic
Although diabetes prevention is fairly straight forward, an important component for acquiring the disease is body type and weight distribution. We have all heard of the apple shape vs the pear shape. Pear-shaped people, particularly women, hold weight in the hips, thighs and buttocks. Apple-shaped people carry all the weight in the upper body. This upper-body weight creates visceral fat with weight-gain or simply growing older. When this happens, insulin resistance occurs.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance means that the body cannot respond appropriately to the insulin it makes. A type 2 diabetic may have a functioning pancreas, but layers of visceral fat stop the insulin from effectively reaching cells. After a meal, when insulin levels are high, insulin stops lipolysis, or the breakdown of fats. In insulin resistance, lypolysis does not turn off properly. As visceral fat builds, the clearance of excess fat becomes even more impeded. The phenomenon of insulin resistance is complex, but there are obvious measures that can be taken. One of these measures is strength training.
Research has shown that any type of resistance training is very beneficial to diabetes prevention.
While many obese people are insulin resistant (fasting blood glucose levels from 100-126) most are not diabetic. Insulin resistance is a warning light that needs to be addressed immediately.
Muscle burns fat, but insulin resistance and diabetes 2 burn muscle. Many diabetics have a large, fatty abdomen with thin, frail arms and legs. This is called limb girdle wasting, or diabetic amyotrophy. This phenomenon is most dramatic in older people with diabetes, so young people with diabetes may not present with this symptom.
Muscle loss is almost invariably the result of inactivity and the diabetic phenomenon of fat distribution.
For older persons suffering muscle loss, testosterone replacement therapy may be of great advantage in restoring youthful levels of hormone and assisting a person’s ability to perform strength training. Low testosterone levels may encourage muscle wasting, so it is an important consideration in preventing or alleviating type 2 diabetes.
A gym-training program with a regular, systematic approach to building muscle and strength is an ideal diabetes deterrent and improvement measure.
Jogging and jumping-jacks are not the only ways to train aerobically. Brisk walking and step aerobics are easily accomplished by all ages of people. The key to successful walking is embarking upon a walking program of increasing speed and distance to build fitness. Many people amble along on walks for enjoyment, but that is not the aerobics training needed to prevent or alleviate type 2 diabetes. Developing a workable plan and building upon that is the key to successful aerobic fitness.
Although many overweight people cannot understand why weight-loss is so difficult, the phenomenon is often the result of persistent sitting. Office or transportation jobs often involve sitting for hours every day, which is unnatural to the human body and causes illnesses like diabetes or insulin resistance. Many people are unaware that they have been sitting still for an hour or two. In these cases, rising and taking a brisk walk, even around the room, does much to activate bodily systems and deter the storage of fat.
Diet has been saved for last, because many people find the technicalities of proper intake, calories and carbs to be very discouraging. The key to diet is not so much counting calories, but what sort of calories are counted. We are all aware of the differences between refined foods and whole foods today, and the need to avoid empty calories found in sweets and chips.
It is important to stock the cupboards with whole fruits, vegetables and grains. Bread can be deceiving, color will be added and the bread called ‘wheat’. Most bread is made of wheat. Whole, fibrous wheat is the choice to make, with additions of seeds and nuts if possible. Bread intake must be limited. Avoid fruit juices, they are very concentrated and raise blood sugar and calories.
Eating out is a huge detriment to conditioning and weight-loss. Menus almost always include giant, refined and fatty portions. Although dining out is a social experience, limit the experience. If traveling is necessary, be very careful of how much of the serving is consumed.
Simple fitness measures and dietary considerations can prevent the very debilitating disease of diabetes, and slow progress or reverse the disease for those so diagnosed.