Diabetes and Your Health

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how our bodies turn food into energy. Most of the food a human eats is turned into energy when it is broken down into sugar and then distributed into our blood stream. Insulin, a hormone crucial to this process allows the blood sugar in our bodies to be used as energy. When a person has diabetes, insulin is either used inefficiently or not enough is produced by a person’s pancreas. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks itself by mistakes that prevent enough insulin to be made. Only about 5% of people according to the CDC who have diabetes have type 1. Type 2 diabetes is when a person’s body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to maintain blood sugar at normal levels. 95% of individuals who have the disease suffer from the self inflicted type 2 diabetes. The CDC also states that just fewer than 10% of the United States is currently diagnosed with diabetes. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, type 2 is often times self-inflicted.  The leading cause for type 2 diabetes is lifestyle. Choices we make greatly influence how well our bodies use insulin and can lead to the development of the disease.  Diet and exercise along with obesity all contribute to the disease.

For those who have shown symptoms of type 2 diabetes exercises have been proven a key factor for prevention. According to a team lead by Dr. Sheri R. Colberg at the American College of Sports and Medicine and the American Diabetes Association their report stated that modest weight loss lowered risk by up to 58% in higher risk populations.  Dr Colberg’s team also found that people with type 2 diabetes could control blood sugar and pressure levels by following a strict workout and nutritional plan. Even when medication is used to treat diabetes, it should be treated as an additional supplement, not a total fix. Finally, several studies including  “Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalization of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and living triacylglycerol” has show than with proper diet and exercise regiment that type 2 diabetics have the opportunity to reverse the disease completely. While bariatric surgery has been a proven method to do so, the underlying reason for the reversal was the weight loss and diet that followed the operation. A more holistic and cost effective way to reach these results has proven to be proper guided nutrition and exercise, under the supervision of trained professionals to ensure the best results are achieved in a reasonable and timely manner. 

Regardless if a person has type 1 or type 2 exercising is one of the best things a person can do to help live a longer life with the disease. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information written by the Department of Movement Sciences from Maastricht University in The Netherlands states that “physical training can be considered to play an important, if not essential role in the treatment and prevention of insulin sensitivity”. This allows people with diabetes and a high insulin resistance to see more improvements from their current medications and live healthier lives. The American Diabetes Association has also published a study on the impact exercise has on individuals with diabetes and states, most adults with diabetes should engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity weekly spread over the course of at least 3 days. Adults are also suggested to engage in 2-3 sessions of resistance training per week.  The same study also suggest children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should engage in 60 minutes of exercise a day at least 3 times per week. Most importantly, to gain the most benefits from this exercise, participants should practice in supervised training programs, as the results where significantly better than those who did not.