American Diabetes Alert DayóMarch 25, 2008

For the 20th time one day each year is put aside to alert the public to the importance of taking steps to prevent type 2 diabetes. With the ever increasing rates of overweight and obesity the incidence of diabetes will continue to increase as well. There are more than 21 million people with type 2 diabetes in the U.S.  Of these more than 5 million who have the disease donít know it. There are also more than 40 million people in the U.S. with metabolic syndrome that leads to diabetes and heart disease.

It is not difficult to know whether you, a family member or close friend are at risk for this preventable disease. Take just a few minutes to review this info then send it along to someone who might benefit from it.

Since type 2 diabetes appears gradually and has no symptoms until it has progressed to a dangerous point, it is important to know what risks you have for developing this condition and take action to prevent a full-blown case. 

Risk factors are: 

  • Obesity especially excess weight around the belly.

  • Any diet that leads to excessive weight gain. However, a diet high in poor-quality, high glycemic carbs, especially sugary and starchy foods contribute to both obesity and diabetes.
  • A couch potato lifestyle increases insulin resistance contributing to obesity and loss of muscle mass.
  • Heredity- having a close relative with type 2 diabetes increases your risk. Having relatives on both sides of your family increases your risk even more. But itís not a foregone conclusion that youíll get diabetes; the right changes in lifestyle can help to mitigate the hereditary risk. Donít think youíre safe if you donít have a family history, poor lifestyle habits can still make you a statistic.
  • Ethnicity- some ethnic groups are at higher risk. They include African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
  • Gestational diabetes- if youíve had GD with any of your pregnancies youíre at a higher risk for diabetes earlier in life. Consequently, your child may also be at higher risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Having a large baby weighing 9 pounds or more is also a risk.
  • Elevated blood sugar- if you already have a slightly higher than normal blood sugar level but not yet high enough to be called diabetes you have pre-diabetes. Take this very seriously and make those lifestyle changes now.
  • Abnormal lipids in the blood. High triglycerides and low HDL is a red flag.
  • High blood pressure, weight gain and high blood sugars often go together and are signs of the same metabolic imbalance found in diabetes.
  • Age. Advancing age increases risk for diabetes. Unfortunately, because of our very unhealthy lifestyles and the increasing incidence of overweight and obesity young people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes even before reaching their teens. This was unheard of 15 years ago.
  • Metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes. Formerly called syndrome X. Having metabolic syndrome increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

With the exception of heredity, ethnicity and age, the other risk factors for diabetes can be addressed by lifestyle changes. Donít miss the opportunity to invest in your health and that of your family by making healthy changes now.

Take this short quiz and find out how many signs of metabolic syndrome you have. 

1. My waist is greater than 40 inches (men) or 35 inches (women). Yes No

2. My triglycerides are 150 mg/dL or more. Yes No

3. My HDL cholesterol is 40 mg/dL or less (men) or 50 mg/dL or less (women). Yes  No

4. My blood pressure is 130/85 or more. Yes No

5. My fasting blood sugar is 100 mg/dL or more. Yes No

If you donít know your rest results, ask your doctorís nurse to give you your most recent blood test results for fasting blood sugar, HDL and triglycerides.

 

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you have the metabolic syndrome. You can find lots more info about metabolic syndrome here or in Atkins Diabetes Revolution.

 

In addition to the 5 signs that comprise metabolic syndrome there are several other factors that generally co-exist with it. They are high levels of inflammation measured by a blood test called C-reactive protein. Inflammation is the most likely reason people develop plaque in the arteries, not elevated LDL cholesterol. People with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of forming blood clots leading to heart attack, stroke or clots in the legs. A blood fibrinogen level is done to measure this risk.

As you can see having the metabolic syndrome is not a good thing. Luckily once youíre aware of your risk for type 2 diabetes you can do something about it. Please donít waste that opportunity.

The information presented on this site is in no way intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical treatment. This information should be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your physician. Consult your physician before beginning this program as you would any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program.  Those of you on diuretics or diabetes medication should proceed only under a doctorís supervision as changing your diet usually requires a change in medication dosages. As with any plan, the weight-loss phases of this program should not be used by patients on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women. As with any weight-loss plan, we recommend anyone under the age of 18 follow the program under the guidance of their physician.