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November is National Diabetes Month with November 14 recognized as World Diabetes Day. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that affects 1 in 12 U.S. adults. Currently approximately 25 million people have diabetes while an additional estimated 80 million are at risk of developing diabetes. It is on track to become the 7th leading cause of death in the world by 2030. The number of individuals with diabetes is projected to increase 50% in 10 years.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputation. Nerve damage affects approximately 65% of those living with diabetes. Currently $245 billion is the cost of diabetes within the U.S. healthcare system.
There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 occurs when there is a lack of insulin being produced by the pancreas. Type 2 develops when the body ineffectively uses insulin that it produces. The third type is gestational diabetes which appears during some pregnancies.
It is estimated that 90% of diabetes worldwide is type 2 diabetes caused by insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas to regulate your blood glucose level. Insulin regulates the amount of glucose that enters into our body’s cells. If you are insulin resistant your cells are not properly receiving the glucose so high amounts stay in your bloodstream. Your pancreas continues to produce insulin due to the large amount of glucose detected. The result is that your blood glucose level continues to stay unregulated at an unhealthy level which causes devastating damage throughout your body.
Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by genetics and lifestyle. A simple fasting blood glucose test can be used to detect pre-diabetes so treatment can start immediately. Treatment best practices primarily include diet and nutrition, exercise and medication.
Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is important in order for your diet to be an effective treatment method. External factors such as illness, stress, physical activity and hormone fluctuations can change blood sugar levels unpredictably. Monitoring these blood sugar levels can help you make adjustments to your diet accordingly. When establishing a diet it is important to consider the glycemic index, a measure of how quickly a particular food causes a rise in blood sugar levels. Based on a scale from 0 to 100 foods rated under 55 are considered low glycemic. 70 or greater is considered high glycemic. The higher the number in the scale translates to how quickly you will absorb the glucose which will expedite an increase in your blood glucose level.
Low glycemic foods are not necessarily good for you just as high glycemic foods are not necessarily bad. The goal is to stabilize your blood glucose level throughout the day and minimize triggers that will quickly affect your level. Foods with low glycemic indexes raise blood sugar levels slowly, thus they make it easier to stabilize your blood sugar level in your target range.
Here is a sample of some specific foods and their glycemic level on the scale of 0 to 100.
Apples – 38
Cherries – 22
Kiwi – 58
Cantaloupe – 65
Watermelon – 72
Broccoli – 10
Carrots – 49
Corn – 60
Pumpkin – 75
Pretzels – 83
Peanuts – 15
Potato Chips – 57
Popcorn – 72
Cheerios – 74
Corn Flakes – 92
Graham Crackers – 74
Rice Crackers – 91
Spaghetti – 38
Lentils – 29
Chocolate Chip Cookie – 44
Ice Cream – 38
French Fries – 75
Sweet Potatoes – 44
Bagel – 72
French Baguette - 95
For more information about prevention, symptoms, treatment options, and research you can visit the American Diabetes Association web site at http://www.diabetes.org/
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