But medication and insulin can actually increase your risk getting a heart attack or dying.
What you are not hearing about is another way to deal with this epidemic.
Today, I want to review in detail a new way to think about diabetes and next week I want to tell you exactly how to prevent, treat, and reverse it.
Let’s get started.
The diabetes epidemic is accelerating along with the obesity epidemic.
Type 2 diabetes, or what was once called adult onset diabetes, is an increasing worldwide epidemic affecting nearly 100 million people -- and over 20 million Americans.
We are seeing increasing rates of Type 2 diabetes, especially in children, which has increased over 1,000 percent in the last decade and was unknown before this generation. One in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime.
Yet this is an entirely preventable lifestyle disease.
In a report in “The New England Journal of Medicine,” Walter Willett, MD, PhD, and his colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that 91 percent of all Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented through improvements lifestyle and diet.
==> The Road to Diabetes Starts Early
Diabetes is often undiagnosed until its later stages. Insulin resistance, when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, is primarily what causes diabetes.
When your diet is full of empty calories, an abundance of quickly absorbed sugars and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.), the body slowly becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and needs more to do the same job of keeping your blood sugar even.
High insulin levels are the first sign of a problem. The high insulin leads to an appetite that is out of control, and increasing weight gain around the belly.
High levels of insulin are warning signs -- they precede Type 2 diabetes by decades.
Insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome associated with it is often accompanied by increasing central obesity, fatigue after meals, sugar cravings, high triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, problems with blood clotting, as well as increased inflammation.
These clues can often be picked up decades before anyone ever gets diabetes -- and may help you prevent diabetes entirely.
If you have a family history of obesity (especially around the belly), diabetes, early heart disease, or even dementia you are even more prone to this problem.
Most people know about the common complications of diabetes such as heart attacks, strokes, amputations, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Some may even know that it increases your risk of dementia and cancers and can cause impotence.
But most people don’t realize that insulin resistance or pre-diabetes can be just as bad causing heart attacks, strokes, dementia, cancer, and impotence -- decades before you get diabetes.
In fact many people with pre-diabetes never get diabetes, but they are at severe risk just the same.
==> Living in Harmony with Our Genes
We were highly adapted to a nutrient-dense, low-sugar, high-fiber diet rich in omega 3 fats. But when we eat out of harmony with our genes, we turn on genes that promote diabetes.
Take Arizona’s Pima Indians, for example.
They were thin and fit 100 years ago, living on a diet of over 70 percent carbohydrates. They ate high-fiber, unprocessed plant foods and they had no diabetes or obesity.
Now, in just one generation, they are nearly all obese and 80 percent have diabetes by the time they are 30 years old!
It is important to diagnose Type 2 diabetes early, but it is often not diagnosed until very late.
In fact, all doctors should aggressively diagnose pre-diabetes decades before diabetes occurs, and before any damage is done to your body. Damage begins with even slight changes in insulin and blood sugar.
Unfortunately, there is a continuum of risk from slightly abnormal insulin and blood sugar to full blown diabetes. This should be addressed as early as possible on the continuum.
In a recent study, anyone with a fasting blood sugar of over 87 was at increased risk of diabetes. The lowest risk group had a blood sugar less than 81.
Most doctors are not concerned until the blood sugar is over 110 -- or worse, over 126, which is diabetes. Therefore, I recommend early testing with anyone who has a family history of Type 2 diabetes, central abdominal weight gain or abnormal cholesterol.
Don’t wait until your sugar is high.
==> Testing for Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
The tests I recommend include the following:
Insulin glucose challenge test with 2-hour glucose challenge, 75 grams measuring fasting, 1 and 2 hour blood sugar AND insulin. Your blood sugar should be less than 80 fasting and never rise above 110 or 120 after one to two hours. Your insulin should be less than 5 fasting and should never rise above 30 after one to two hours. I recommend this test for everyone over 50, and for anyone with any risk of insulin resistance, even children.
The hemoglobin A1C is an important measure of glycated hemoglobin, which can be an early indicator of sugar problems. It measures sugars and proteins combining into glycated proteins called AGEs (advanced glycation end products), like the crust on bread, or the crispy top on crème brule. These create inflammation, oxidative stress throughout the body, and promote heart disease and dementia and accelerating aging. The hemoglobin A1C should ideally be less than 5.5. Anything over 6 is considered diabetes.
Lipid profiles are important. An HDL or good cholesterol level under 60 and triglycerides over 100 should make you suspicious of insulin resistance. An HDL under 40 and a triglyceride level over 150 usually means diabetes.
An NMR lipid profile identifies the size of your cholesterol particles. With insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes, you develop small LDL and HDL cholesterol particles. They are much more dangerous than larger particles and lead to increased risk of atherosclerosis or heart disease.
High sensitivity C-reactive protein is a measure of inflammation, one of the classic conditions that is both the cause and result of insulin resistance and diabetes. It should be less than 1, and is often associated with diabetes. In fact, anyone with a high C-reactive protein has a 1,700 percent increased risk of getting diabetes.
Homocysteine is often abnormal in people with diabetes. It is a measure of folic acid deficiency. It should be between 6 and 8.
Fibrinogen measures your risk of clotting, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. It is also a sign of inflammation and is associated with insulin resistance and diabetes. It should be less than 300.
Ferritin levels are often elevated. It is a nonspecific marker of inflammation associated with diabetes. It also can mean an overload of iron in the body. It should be less than 150.
Uric acid should be less than 6. Higher levels indicate problems with insulin resistance. This can lead to gout, which is related to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
Elevated liver function tests result from insulin resistance. This is the major cause of fatty liver and elevated liver function tests in this country. This is entirely due to sugar and carbohydrates in our diet that cause fatty liver, liver damage, and even cirrhosis.
These are tests any doctor can perform and are covered by insurance. I have included the interpretation with my written blog so you can know exactly where you should be.
That’s all for today.
In next week’s blog, I will tell you how to prevent, treat, and even reverse diabetes. I have seen this hundreds of times in my patients and there is no reason you can’t achieve the same thing if you apply these principles.
Till then, remember what Michael Pollan said: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Have you been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes?
Have you been told that it is irreversible?
What steps have you taken to prevent diabetes?
Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, M.D.
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Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, et al. Diet, lifestyle, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. N Engl J Med. 2001;(11):790-797.
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Triggiani V, Resta F, Guastamacchia E, et al. Role of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, carnitine, vitamins, phytochemicals and trace elements in the treatment of diabetes mellitus and its chronic complications. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2006;6(1):77-93. Review.
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Call for Weekend of Resistance Against the "Green Scare" June 9 - 11, 2006
by Jeff Free Luers
This June marks my 6th year in prison. From behind these walls I have strived to remain an active part of this struggle; from contributing to the dialogue and discussion of tactics, to furthering the debate on climate change in the public. Perhaps most importantly I am proof that prison cannot crush the spirit of resistance.
This year has seen an increase in state repression against activists and radicals alike. It is truly a scary time. We all know about the "Red Scare" - the government's attempt to justify repression by labeling dissidents "communists" back in the 1950's. Today we see their "Green Scare" attempt to crush resistance by labeling them "eco-terrorists."
For the last three years, June 11th has been celebrated as an international day of solidarity with me, Jeffrey Luers. I have been overjoyed with a sense of love & pride at the support I have received from around the world. My deepest and sincerest thanks go out to all of you.
Right now there are more than a dozen people sitting in American jails (or on strict bail release) accused of Earth/Animal Liberation Front actions. Six people were originally arrested. These arrests were based almost entirely on the testimony of one police informant, Jacob Ferguson. Bill Rodgers - accused of multiple arsons - took his own life in a jail cell. Unfortunately, several of those arrested are now cooperating with the state.
These defendants are facing ridiculous charges and a draconian amount of time.
This June, I ask you to show them the solidarity that you have shown me. I ask that foremost in your mind be the thought that the state is trying to break this struggle with repressive and intimidating arrests and sentences. I hope you understand that it's not just those of us in prison being punished with these sentences; they are designed to be examples to you, to frighten you into compliance. This June I'm asking you to demonstrate that you can't be intimidated. Celebrate your dissent, give it voice. Be loud. Be visible. If you have the ability, organize a reclaim the streets party or a critical mass.
If you are going to host a fundraiser or venue event, I ask that you donate all proceeds to the legal defense of those recently arrested who maintain integrity in the face of repression, whether they are innocent or guilty.
This June, show the world that the voice of truth will not be silenced by fear.
June 9 - 11, 2006, is a Weekend of Resistance Against the Green Scare. There is no central organizing body or group to check in with but the Jeff Luers Support Network can help by providing you with flyers, graphics, and merchandise such as videos, zines and stickers about Jeff and allies in the struggle. Begin planning your event now. Read more about the Green Scare defendants here. Plan an action that makes sense for your area: a demonstration, treesit, music festival, teach-in, stenciling campaign, rally, protests at an American consulate/embassy overseas or public forum. Circulate petitions. Contribute to the legal defense for the defendants. Do what you think is appropriate. But please remember when planning an action or event think about how it could affect the upcoming court cases. Ask yourself: does this help or hurt the defendants? Does this strengthen the movement or weaken it in the long-term?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- East Coast contact: Friends of Jeff 'Free' Luersfirstname.lastname@example.org
<>><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< CALL TO ACTION! from the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< Come out and Stand Up for the Ancient Redwoods!
EMERGENCY RALLY !! Tuesday Dec. 6 at noon Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office One Post St. @ Market, San Francisco
PLEASE COME DURING THE LUNCH HOUR AND SHOW THAT WE THE PEOPLE OPPOSE LOGGING OF ANCIENT REDWOODS!
On Veteren's day, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber (PL) started logging in the Nanning Creek Grove in Humboldt County, and have now moved into the ANCIENT REDWOOD GROVE that includes trees over 15 feet in diameter and up to 2000 years old.
Earth First! and Humboldt Forest Defense activists have erected tree-sits in the branches of some of the massive trees, and have held vigils at the logging road gate outside Scotia, including a lock-down action last Monday when four people were arrested
JOIN THE GROWING RESISTANCE TO THE DESTRUCTION OF PRECIOUS OLD GROWTH FOREST HABITAT!
Nanning Creek Grove is east of the company town of Scotia and comprises the largest chunk of in-tact unprotected habitat for the federally listed Marbled Murrelet in California.
Logging in this rare habitat, which should be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is allowed under provisions of the 1999 Headwaters Deal, negotiated by Senator Feinstein and other government officials and the infamous corporate raider Charles Hurwitz, CEO of Maxxam Corp.
The murrelet is listed as threatened under the ESA and as endangered under the California ESA. Permission granted by US Fish and Wildlife Service for ScoPac to log this critical habitat flies in the face of a 2004 report commissioned by that same agency that stated that current logging practices in Northern California threaten the small seabird with an 80% probability of extinction in the next 55 years, and a 100% probability of extinction in the next 95 years. The 250-acre plan was cynically named named "Bonanza" by PL.
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