I’d like to talk about Type II and Type III diabetes. These are largely preventable with a little awareness and modest changes in behavior. Type I diabetes is otherwise known as Juvenile Onset Diabetes and is an autoimmune disorder that knocks out the body’s ability to make insulin in the pancreas. The treatment is diet control, regular exercise, risk factor avoidance (smoking, drinking) and insulin injections or an insulin pump. Anybody living with Type I diabetes already knows all of this, so this information is for everyone else.
The increase in Type II diabetes is good news for dialysis centers. 44% of new cases of kidney failure can be traced to diabetes. This is also really good news for the medical profession in general, since the cost of care for people with kidney disease, including pharmaceuticals, is $32 billion per year. The amount of that figure directly attributable to diabetes then works out to $14 billion annually. Lots of people want to get in on that action.
Many who are headed down the path toward diabetes (or already there) need reasons big enough to spark a lifestyle change. Motivation is often tied to how many reasons you have to make the necessary changes in your life.
I will do my best to help by repeating a short list of complications of Type II diabetes. Pick the ones that mean the most to you based on your own emotional make-up and maybe a dose of family history.
- Heart and blood vessel disease. This includes heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and (guess what) erectile dysfunction. As small arteries in your circulatory system become compromised, blood flow becomes impaired in many key places.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy). Those same small blood vessels also feed your nerves. This symptom tends to express itself first in your feet and legs, the tips of your toes and sometimes your fingers.
- Kidney damage. We already discussed this above.
- Eye damage. Look for damage to the small blood vessels, as well as an increased probability of glaucoma and cataracts.
- Poor circulation to the feet. Even minor foot ailments can lead to an increase in infections and eventual amputation.
- Skin problems. You might experience an increase in bacterial and fungal infections.
- Alzheimer’s Disease. We now know that Alzheimer’s is essentially Type II diabetes in the brain, and we refer to this as Type III diabetes. People with Type II have a higher probability of developing Alzheimer’s. What fun.
When I was just out of chiropractic college, I worked in an office with two established chiropractors. We received a call from a woman who wanted someone to treat her bedridden husband. Since I was the low man on the totem pole, I volunteered. The patient was about 70 years of age and of relatively normal weight. They had a hospital bed set up in his bedroom that had a view of his back yard and the sky through a sliding glass door. This was his only view of the outside world, since he was truly not able to move out of bed. He had lost one leg to diabetes and was in danger of losing the other. He had to have a podiatrist come in to cut his toenails, as even the smallest of insults to his skin was difficult to heal and could easily turn gangrenous.
The patient related to me that he developed diabetes from a combination of poor diet, lack of good exercise and minor obesity. He was a contractor, so he wasn’t sitting around doing nothing, but he also wasn’t getting the diet and exercise his body wanted. He was now resigned to be in the same bed, in the same horizontal position, until the end.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work in that situation and context. Some situations you just want to stay out of, and that was certainly one of them.
I wish I could say that this was a rare occurrence, but public health records tell us that this is more and more common. In a future post, I will spend some time talking about why people make decisions that aren’t in their best interest. The problem is the battle between the limbic brain and the neocortex. The limbic brain is more motivated by immediate gratification while the neocortex considers the bigger picture. We all deal with this, but we can move the needle toward better decisions if we know the game.
Since OVitaminPro is a supplement store, I should mention that things like Integrative Therapeutics Clinical Nutrients for Diabetes, Allergy Research Glucose Tolerance and Apex Energetics Glysen and Protoglysen can be effective in treating the symptoms of diabetes. Check your blood sugar, treat with your favorite supplement combination, and then retest to make sure you are on the right track. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for a foot to fall off to know what’s coming.