According to the World Health Organization, diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and lower limb amputation. Have you had your blood sugar checked?
Apple recently announced that select Apple Stores will now sell One Drop, a blood glucose monitor that closely integrates with the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Although this may be of great benefit to those who struggle to keep tabs on their blood sugar, the interesting thing is that Apple wouldn’t be selling this product if there weren’t a large enough market to make it profitable. All forms of diabetes can benefit from close blood sugar monitoring and lifestyle choices that promote overall health. Type II diabetes and pre-diabetes are on the rise and Apple knows this as well as anyone. A healthy bodyweight, appropriate diet, and the correct amount of exercise can go a long way in preventing, improving, and in some cases even curing Type II diabetes. We know this, and yet diabetes continues to increase in both adults and youth.
The American Diabetes Association states that “A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as healthy eating for anyone – low in saturated fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruit. Foods that say they are healthier for people with diabetes generally offer no special benefit.”
In addition, they recommend at least 150 min of aerobic exercise per week as well as guidelines for resistance and flexibility training.
If your physician has told you that you are “pre-diabetic” what does this mean in terms of your current diet and exercise plan (or lack therof?) Should you follow a “fad” diet to lose weight in hopes that general weight loss will lower your blood sugar? Should you cut out all carbs and try to get your body into ketosis? Is saturated fat a good or a bad thing to eat? Both refined sugars and high quantities of fat can trigger spikes in blood sugar as can overeating in general. Is your doctor prescribing the correct lifestyle changes needed to improve your health?
Why Treating Chronic Disease is so Difficult
One of the reasons modern western medicine struggles with chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, cancer, and so on is because our single cure model of treating illness worked so well in the past. Acute illnesses such as polio, TB, cholera, and smallpox which were once the scourge of humanity responded immediately once a single treatment or preventative vaccine was discovered. Medical/pharmaceutical research is still looking for that single magic bullet that will eliminate chronic illnesses because our health care system is focused on cures, not prevention.
Also, if the cure or preventative treatment isn’t patent-able (for example, broccoli ) it isn’t profitable. Who will fund such research? Prevention requires knowledge, motivation, lifestyle changes (sleep, exercise, stress, etc.), dietary changes, and commitment. Fortunately, even if you already have issues with blood sugar, these same preventative measures may decrease your symptoms and need for further treatment.
Where to Begin
So if you’ve found yourself in a situation where you know you need to make a change but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, where can you turn? Your health insurance may not cover the dietary and exercise guidance you need to be healthy. Do you give up? Start taking medication but continue poor health habits? Now is the time to take charge of your own health by investing in the knowledge and expertise you need to manage your blood sugar and prevent the debilitating effects of this serious disease.
Here are three simple steps to begin your journey to a healthy lifestyle:
- Consult with a registered dietitian regarding your diet and any changes you should implement. Find a meal plan you can stick with.
- Consult with a medically-focused personal trainer regarding an exercise program specifically designed for someone struggling with blood sugar. You can work one on one with a trainer, join an appropriate group class, or learn a program to do at home.
- Inform your MD of your plans, and make sure to monitor any lab values they recommend as you make changes. Some people are able to reduce or eliminate medications as their health improves.
Yes, you may have to pay out of pocket for some or all of these interventions. The choice is yours, pay now, or possibly pay with very serious consequences later. To learn more about how the dietitians and personal trainers at OrthoSport Hawaii can help, call 808 373-1114 to set up a free, no obligation orientation in our Medical Fitness center. You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain.