By Laurie Sweig
Recently I have heard from three different sources that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed. I had always understood that once you had Type 2 diabetes you had it for the rest of your life. This is great news.
Diabetes (Diabetes mellitus is the proper name) refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar. Blood sugar, technically known as glucose, is a source of energy for the cells that make up the body’s muscles and tissue. Glucose is the brain’s main source of fuel.
There are four types of diabetes:
• Type 1: Once known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to allow the sugar/glucose to enter the body’s cells.
• Type 2: This is an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar/glucose as a result of the pancreas not producing enough insulin and the cells not responding to the insulin resulting in a reduction of the absorption of sugar.
• Prediabetes: This occurs when blood sugar/glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. This is the diagnosis that is given before the line is crossed into Type 2 diabetes.
• Gestational: This occurs during pregnancy. It may be resolved after the birth of the baby.
Now that we have all of that sorted out let’s talk specifically about Type 2 diabetes. Basically stated it is a lifestyle disease. I have had people say to me it is genetic. It is not so much genetic as it is familial, as in you and your parents may have it because similar habits that lead to the disease have been followed, i.e. poor nutrition and sedentary routines. Ultimately, it gets back to the basics of good nutrition, exercise and rest. Type 2 diabetes is an example of poor habits making us sick.
Reversing Type 2 diabetes is all about getting healthy. Eating well, exercising and dropping the extra weight. This does not cure Type 2 diabetes but it does result in a reduction, and in some cases the elimination of the medication required to manage the disease.
I understand how this is a big challenge. It seems like popping pills is the easiest method to feeling better. It’s kind of ironic really. Food is meant to fuel our bodies. The cells want to welcome the nutrients with open arms but the “convenient” food choices have caused that system to fail. So what do we do? We take medication to make it all better. That is a vicious circle that you can break.
Whether you are prediabetic or have Type 2 diabetes (or even at risk of having diabetes) get back to consuming real food. Vegetables are the best choice. The more colourful the better. Have them at every single meal. When you’re done eating ‘em get up and move in anyway that you can! Exercise is part of the good health equation!
I can’t tell you why it often feels like so much work to be healthy. It does take a whole lot of effort. What I can tell is that it is worth it.
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor. She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.