Preventative medicine is rapidly becoming the focus of many doctors who would prefer to help their patients prevent rather than treat a disease like diabetes. Candice Hall, DC, is a California-based doctor doing just that to help treat many patients at her Irvine clinic and has noticed an increase in diabetes diagnoses. The odds are you or someone you know is dealing with this disease that affects 350 million people worldwide. Ninety percent of diabetes diagnoses are Type 2, which is the most common and preventable version of this disease. Twenty-nine million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
"Patients come into my office complaining about the horrible effects of the disease and all the medications they have been prescribed," Hall said. "Some patients are on half a dozen different prescriptions to treat everything from their blood sugar levels to their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, neuropathy and even sleep disorders. It's heartbreaking."
Dr. Hall believes that this disease can be reversed and many of her patients have not only reported significantly lowered A1c levels (the 3-month average of blood glucose levels), but their physicians have taken them off a majority of their medications, which may include oral medications and regular insulin injections. A majority of those patients have seen weight loss as a result.
Dr. Hall is on a mission to stop the rapidly growing number of new diabetes diagnoses and shared 4 ways in which you can prevent Type 2 diabetes in your own family. These tips are not only preventative, but will help improve your overall health and quality of life.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that "being overweight can keep your body from making and using insulin properly. Every pound you lose lowers your risk of getting diabetes." Losing weight is easier said than done, but losing small amounts like 5 to 7 percent of your body fat can dramatically lower your risk of diabetes. For a 200 pound individual, that's a loss of about 10 - 14 pounds.
"One of the best ways to begin a weight loss plan is to keep a food journal," Hall said. "Track every single item you eat throughout the day and then really examine what you're sometimes mindlessly eating."
"We know that excess body weight adversely affects every organ system in the body," said Dr. Gary Foster, director of Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia, in a 2011 report on reversing diabetes on CNN.com. "So it shouldn't be surprising that as obesity increases, as it has over the past 30 years, that medical conditions, especially conditions like Type 2 diabetes, will also increase."
The NIDDK recommends as little as 30 minutes of walking a day to help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. They say "physical activity helps your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, stay in your target range. Physical activity also helps the hormone insulin absorb glucose into all your body's cells, including your muscles, for energy. Muscles use glucose better than fat does. Building and using muscle through physical activity can help prevent high blood glucose."
Technology has made it that much easier to track exercise, from exercise apps on your smartphone, to wearing a FitBit to count your steps, or participating in online diet and exercise competitions. Many gyms are re-examining their business model to become more financially accessible by offering lower rates for memberships, or you could take exercises classes at your local YMCA.
Exercising can also become a great family affair. "Load up the backpack with water bottles and some high-protein snacks and hit the hiking trails. Spring is a wonderful time to explore the hills and create some family memories while also effectively accelerating that heart rate," Hall said.
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that American adults eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for a healthy diet. A serving size is a ½ a cup of cut up fruits or veggies, a piece of fruit, like a banana or an apple, or 1 cup of fruit juice with no added sugar.
"With gardens just starting to produce fruits and veggies, now is a great time to reevaluate your daily menu and serve up some tasty goodness straight from your garden," Hall said.
Be sure, too, to avoid processed foods and the chemicals in them, Hall said. Avoiding genetically modified foods will make a big impact on your health.
A high sugar diet increases the odds of developing diabetes. Try to keep sugar intake under 10 grams per day, Hall recommends. This also includes alcohol, too.
Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association recommends that people limit their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes.
By considering these four ways of reducing you and your family's risk for Type 2 diabetes, you are not only helping your loved ones become a little healthier, but you are also becoming an advocate for beating diabetes.
For more information on Dr. Candice Hall, please visit www.nextadvancedmedicine.com