Diabetes affects nearly 21 million people in the United States. What you might not know is that more than six million of these diabetics do not even know they are sick – YET!
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes develops when the pancreas does not make enough insulin (a hormone that helps sugar get into the cells of the body) or the body cannot use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in the blood and can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, ulcerated toes and feet, lower-extremity amputations, brain hemorrhage, and death. Diabetics NEED to check their sugar levels everyday to make sure their levels are not too high or too low. Low sugar levels can cause a person to go into a coma or die so this is as serious as sugar levels going too high which can cause the above noted conditions.
Between 90 and 95 percent of all people who have been diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2.
Diabetes goes undiagnosed in so many people because it develops very slowly. Many people will have this form of diabetes for as long as 10 years without noticing any symptoms of the disease. In the meantime, the disease can do irreparable damage to the body. Diabetes can also go undiagnosed because many of its symptoms may appear harmless and may vary from person to person.
Two most common symptoms that many people with the disease develop are increased thirst and frequent urination. Other warning signs include:
Weight gain or loss
Blurred vision (I actually think this ranks as the third most common symptom)
Slow-healing sores or frequent infections, and a few others
There is good news when it comes to Diabetes – YOU DON’T HAVE TO BECOME A TYPE 2 DIABETIC – it is a matter of choice and educating yourself when it comes to how food impacts your body, helps you make the right choices.. Another piece of good news is that Diabetes can be controlled by diet alone without the use of insulin and/or other medications, and even if you are already taken these medications, there is a good chance that you may not need them if you change your diet. An example: I lost my sister to Diabetes. Every July she would come to visit me out-of-state, and since she was staying with me at my home, she was forced to eat what I cooked. There never was a July that she didn’t have to cut back on her medication because she was finally eating the right way, but like so many others, she didn’t learn from that one month out of the year that diet WAS THE CURE and she would go back home to continue her unhealthy eating habits. Her excuse was “my diabetes is worse then yours”, or “it was just a coincidence” and then of course the excuse that since I was younger then her, I didn’t know as much as she did (sibling rivalry).
I am a CONTROLLED DIABETIC, for well over a decade, and by learning how to substitute healthy carbohydrates vs. unhealthy carbohydrates, I never feel deprived of the foods I love and crave. It is possible to eat breads, pastas, and desserts – the secret is all in the ingredients. Yes, I will admit eating healthy involves a little more cooking and work, but back in the days when I had to work for a living, I used my weekends to make four or five different dinners as I cleaned my house and did the laundry so I would always have healthy food when I came home from a long day of working. The best way not to be tempted is not to be around temptation, so one of the first things I did when I was told I was Diabetic, was to go home and donate all my unhealthy foods to charity.
The worst thing a person can do, in my opinion, is have the attitude that just because they take insulin or medications they can eat whatever they want because that is what the medication is all about – WRONG! There is no cure for Diabetes, but it is possible to have Diabetes under control so that you never experience the health risks involved.
On the “You Are What You Eat” page of this site, there is a link to “Low Carb: How and Why?” This site explains how food impacts the body, gives suggestions on how to substitute the BAD carbs with the GOOD carbs and explains what carbs are, and has some inexpensive, down to earth recipes (not fancy gourmet type of meals), but for people who live on a budget.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to educate yourself on how the body metabolizes food. Just one baked Idaho potato will metabolize into 1/2 cup of sugar and that, my friend, is going to spike a Diabetic’s sugar to a very high level. There are tips when it comes to potatoes on the site, as well as suggestions for other good side dishes to replace the large regular potatoes.