Today, Thursday, August 22, 2019

Fitness May Predict the Onset of Diabetes

Physical fitness impacts the level of wellness experienced as people age. The list of chronic conditions that regular exercise and healthy eating prevents includes heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes. Although this message is being widely broadcast, it largely goes unheeded.  According to a survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control only 6% of respondents participated in exercise at the levels prescribed in the national objectives.  This does not bode well for the health of the nation; especially regarding the prevention of diabetes.  Studies now strongly support the claim that fitness levels may predict the onset of diabetes.

Facts Regarding Diabetes and Fitness :

·         Twenty year olds who are not physically fit may be setting themselves up for developing diabetes upon reaching middle age.

·         Individuals who maintain low levels of aerobic fitness face two to three times higher risk of developing diabetes than people who worked to maintain fitness.

·         People who have poor levels of fitness tend to accept that level of fitness and will keep that minimum standard for life (with the likelihood that they will get worse).

·         Women and men were at an increased risk of developing diabetes (22% and 45% respectively) for every standard deviation level of decline from the mean fitness score.

·         People with a higher BMI have a greater risk of developing diabetes.

·         80% of people who have type 2 Diabetes are overweight

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the way the body handles glucose is faulty.  There are two categories of this metabolic disorder: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 occurs in only five to ten percent of those diagnosed with diabetes.  There is uncertainty as to what causes it but it is believed to be from an autoimmune response of the body while fighting infection.  It has genetic, environmental and possible viral components.  This type usually develops in children and young adults.

Type 2 occurs in 90 to 95 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes.  This is the form that is associated with lack of fitness, onset at older ages, obesity, family history (including history of gestational diabetes) and particular ethnic groups.  Type 2 diabetes is being increasingly found in children and adolescents.  The occurrence of this disease is especially prevalent among Pacific Island, African-American and Mexican-American young people.

Gestational Diabetes occurs in approximately 3 to 8 percent of U.S. pregnancies.  It is caused by pregnancy hormones which influence insulin production, and is more common in some ethnic groups than others.  There may not be any symptoms experienced during the pregnancy and it typically disappears after the baby is born.  It is important, however, to monitor these women since there is a 40-60 percent chance that they may develop type 2 diabetes (most likely in the next 5-10 years).

Symptoms of Diabetes

·         Fatigue

·         Dizziness

·         Increased thirst and hunger

·         Weight loss

·         Slow healing of wounds and sores

·         Blurred vision

·         Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet (poor circulation)

Some people will have no symptoms; however, the disease is still damaging the body.

Dangers of Diabetes
There are many risks that accompany undiagnosed and unmanaged diabetes.  These include:

·         Kidney failure

·         Vision problems leading to blindness

·         Twice as likely to have heart disease

·         Higher risk for infections, especially yeast infections, foot infections, surgical site infections (which can create serious complications), and urinary tract infections

·         Studies show that individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to depression.

·         Nerve damage or neuropathy

Fitness Solutions
Since fitness has been tied to Type 2 diabetes, it is advisable to follow a plan of healthful eating and exercise to thwart its onset.

Overeating which leads to obesity needs to be corrected, but equally important is the need to adjust the types and balance of foods being consumed.

Diets that have too many refined carbohydrates, low fiber and are high in saturated fats are the usual culprits that bring on a host of poor health conditions.  They are thought to contribute to diabetes as well.  The ideal diet for diabetes prevention should be high in fiber, fruits and vegetables and omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Other studies have shown that there is an increased risk for diabetes when there is frequent consumption of processed meats (e.g. bacon and hot dogs).  It was found there was a 17% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women who ate bacon at least two times a week.  This risk increased to 24% when the study individuals ate hot dogs two times a week.  While the results of this study are quite clear, the reason that this is so is not as obvious.  Researchers believe that nitrates and other additives may be harming the insulin- producing cells of the pancreas.

Body Fat
A more recent study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri found that the amount of fat in a person's liver is a stronger indicator of predisposition to Type 2 diabetes than overall obesity is. Doctors have recognized for years that Type 2 diabetes was more prevalent in people with high amounts of visceral fat, as opposed to those who had more fat in their extremities and below the skin (only 10 percent of fat should be located within the body cavity and 90% should be below the skin). Now studies show that diabetes is specifically linked to the excess fat that builds up around the liver.

The excess liver fat leads to a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and it leads to insulin resistance and ultimately the way the body can or cannot metabolize sugar.  The liver also secretes fat particles into the blood stream which increases the level of triglycerides in the blood stream.  This contributes to a myriad of health conditions.

Researchers are urging people to lose weight because, ultimately, it can mean the difference in how the body handles insulin.  It leads to the fitness which can stave off the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

A regular exercise routine in addition to following a healthy diet will contribute toward weight loss and proper weight maintenance.  It will increase blood circulation, the body's metabolic rate, curb appetites and lead to better sleep habits.

Exercise should always be introduced gradually so as to not strain underused muscles and joints. People with health conditions should always consult their doctors to find the best and safest exercise routine.

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