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All Diabetes are Not the Same
Written By : Mark Rosenberg, MD 
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In my previous article I helped you better understand the problems and solutions of diabetes type 1. Unfortunately, many Americans suffer from another type of diabetes that is far more prevalent and this article will help you better comprehend the differences. Here's a general description on the two types:

Diabetes falls into the category of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar levels. Under normal conditions, blood glucose levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, the organ responsible for sugar control. All types of diabetics have difficulty either producing too much or not enough. Here is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in a nutshell.

  • Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes and occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but some experts believe a virus or an autoimmune response, in which the body attacks its own pancreatic cells, is responsible. People with this type of diabetes must take insulin for life.
  • Type 2 was once known as adult-onset and those affected are noninsulin-dependent. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the pancreas secretes plenty of insulin, but the body's cells don't respond to it.

Age, Gender, and Obesity Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Did you know that men, aged 35 to 54 are almost twice as likely to have diabetes as women? Recent studies indicate that although diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, some groups have a higher risk for developing the disease. What researchers don't know is why certain people develop type 2 diabetes and others do not.

What medical reports do tell us are the factors that increase a person's risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Let's take a look at the relationship of type 2 diabetes and three very important characteristics that put you in danger of developing the disease.

  • Weight - The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Inactivity - Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Age - The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. It may be because as people age they tend to become less active, lose muscle tone and gain unwanted weight.

Its no wonder these common risk factors have sparked concern among members of the medical profession.

More Staggering Statistics

You might agree that it seems more and more people you know are becoming a statistic; one more victim of diabetes 2. I'd like to share a few facts about this fast growing disease that might be of interest to you.

  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and is responsible for 90% - 95% of the 21 million people afflicted with the disease.
  • People over 40 are at higher risk of the condition, as are people with a large waist or family history of the disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the form linked to poor exercise and diet. Many of the two million people with type 2 are overweight or obese - and an estimated 500,000 more people have type 2 but do not know it.
  • The number of obese people will increase in the coming decades, putting people at higher risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.
  • Type 2 diabetes can be undetected for a decade or longer and many already have complications by the time it is diagnosed. These complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

The News Is Not All Bad

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes it might seem frightening at first. But don't let it get you down. Although type 2 diabetes is serious, it is also manageable. If you are willing to follow a healthy life style you can reduce your risk of developing the disease as well as learn to control it. Consider this:

  • Losing weight can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in high-risk people by 58 percent.
  • Exercising can cut the risk by 64 percent.

There are also natural remedies for type 2 diabetes that are being explored in addition to standard treatment. Make sure that you inform your doctor about any herbs, supplements, or natural treatments you are taking to safeguard against adverse reactions with other medications.

Diabetes Improves With Natural Minerals

  • Chromium is a mineral that helps increase the efficiency of insulin, and picolinateis an amino acid that allows the body to use chromium much more readily.

Research shows that chromium picolinate helps lower blood sugar levels in most type 2 diabetics after taking a daily supplement containing the mineral. What's even better is chromium picolinate has shown to reduce obesity which means it may enable some people with type 2 diabetes to lose enough weight to stop taking drugs entirely.

  • Magnesium is a mineral that can be found naturally in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. It is needed to help regulate blood sugar levels as well as other bodily functions. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting glucose levels.
  • Zinc is important to type 2 diabetics because it helps in the production and storage of insulin. It can be found naturally in oysters, ginger root, lamb, pecans, split peas, egg yolk, rye, beef, liver, lima beans, almonds, walnuts, sardines, and chicken.
  • Vanadium can be found in soil and many foods and has been found to improve insulin and reduce blood sugar. It actually imitates the action of insulin in the body.

It's not hard to see why nutritional supplements can be an aid to a diabetic sufferer. However, all diabetics are not created equal. Cases differ in terms of the severity, prescribed medication, diet, and exercise. That's why I stress the importance of working with a qualified health care professional to find the best treatment and supplement for you.

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging

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