ALMOST everyone has heard of Type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease that is linked to increased risk of multi-organ damage, involving the arteries, eyes, kidneys, heart, liver and brain.
The US National Diabetes Fact Sheet released January 26, 2011 showed 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes. There are 18.8 million who are diagnosed and about 7 million undiagnosed. Seventy-nine million are pre-diabetics. All these figures may even be conservative. In 2010 alone, 1.9 million new cases were diagnosed among children 20 years and older. About one in every 400 children and adolescents has diabetes.
In the Philippines, the incidence is rising. We have one of the highest, if not the top, in Asia, most blaming it on our culture of eating a lot of white rice and bread, carbohydrates in general, including soft drinks. In 2008, one out of every five (20 percent) Filipinos had diabetes. Ten years before this, it was only 3.9 percent, a jump of over 5 times. Extrapolated, the actual incidence today might be around 20 million, and diabetes is among the top causes of mortality, with more than 20,000 deaths annually.
Worldwide, the incidence in 30 years jumped from 30 million to an estimated 366 million in 2011, and this is expected to catapult to 552 million in 2030, less than 17 years from now. Data from the International Diabetic Foundation: China, 90 million; Europe, 50 million; Japan, 11 million. It is indeed most concerning and frustrating since diabetes is, to a great extent, preventable, as we pointed out in great detail in the coffee-table book at www. LetsStopKillingOurChildren.com (Central Books Stores, National Book Stores, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com)
Dementia, a form of diabetes!
Recently, the term “Type 3 diabetes” has evolved. Scientists now believe that the widespread degenerative brain disease known as Alzheimer’s is actually a form of diabetes. This study at the Rhode Island Hospital, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, revealed that this most common and popular form of dementia is “marked by brain insulin resistance and corresponding inflammation,” a condition now referred to as Type 3 diabetes. The mechanism/ pathophysiology appears to be similar to that of Type 2 “sugar” diabetes.
The report says that the progression of Alzheimer’s is due to the brain developing resistance to the natural body hormone insulin, which impairs proper lipid (fat) metabolism, allowing lipid build-up in the brain tissues over years, resulting in greater stress and inflammation that damage brain cells and neuronal function. The lead investigator, Dr. Suzanne dela Monte, pointed out the connection between Type 2 diabetes and the several “key neuronal factors implicated in dementia.” These findings are significant in directing attending physicians “to target several pathways, not just one, to break the vicious cycle, by restoring insulin responsiveness to reduce stress and inflammation” that cause the brain to produce toxins against itself.
Peanut butter to detect Alzheimer’s
Did you know that sniffing peanut butter might lead to an early detection of the onset of Alzheimer’s? A study shows that failure to smell peanut butter could indicate beginning damage to the smell center in the brain, a sign that Alzheimer’s is setting in. More studies will surely follow this observation to confirm its validity and universal applicability in clinical medicine.
Exercise wards off Alzheimer’s
Several studies have revealed that daily exercise, even simple walking, at a slow or fast pace, reduces the risk for Alzheimer’s dementia. Any form of regular physical
activity, such as swimming, dancing, any aerobic moves (tai chi, tai bo, etc), significantly lowers the chances of
developing Alzheimer’s, and even slowing the progress of dementia. And mental calisthenics, like solving puzzles, playing chess, cerebral games, doing other challenging activities, could lessen the risk for Alzheimer’s.
Inflammation: Our body’s enemy No. 1
Since we are continuously exposed daily to various microorganisms, irritants, and toxins (physical, chemicals, natural and man-made radiation), our body is, to some extent in a chronic state of subclinical (subtle) inflammation and stress.
Science has proven that chronic inflammation is the culprit that induces hardening of the arteries, which in turn results in high blood pressure, coronary artery blockages and heart attack stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Many of the illnesses are induced, caused, or aggravated by this inflammatory mechanism. Unfortunately, many of us do not listen to our body, and/or do not do enough to ward off these diseases.
Living a healthy lifestyle is the best strategy to reduce, if not prevent, inflammation and all the diseases we know. This includes wisdom, awareness, acceptance and resolve. The main ingredients in this recipe are:
1. Diet. Vegetables, especially the green leafy ones, and those of various colors, green, yellow, red, orange, purple, etc … and fruits (natural, not canned) have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. The less red meat, carbs and processed food we eat, and the more fish, nuts, whole grain, high-fiber foods we consume, the better for our body. Healthy diet not only lowers our risk for diseases in general but also boosts our immune system, delays the aging process a bit and makes us physiologically younger, compared to those who abuse themselves.
2. Exercise. Humans, like other animals, were created to be on their feet and active physically most of the time. Simple walking (leisurely or briskly) at least 30 minutes daily does wonders in reducing inflammation, hardening of the arteries, strengthening our immune system, improving skin collagen, etc. and consequently lowering our risks for diseases, like high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid diseases, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s and even cancers. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, exercise is the cheapest and safest path to the fountain of youth, unlike the journey taken by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 in search of the fountain that landed him in what is now known as Florida, very disappointed. Today, we know that such a miracle spring is within our grasp, actually in our hands, if we only dare to take advantage of it.
3. Medical/dental check up. A visit to the doctor at the earliest sign or suspicion of an illness is essential for early diagnosis and more effective treatment.
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