Monday, September 16, 2013

Finding Information on Diabetes from the TCTC Library Databases

The library has a number of databases and print resources that can be used by anyone associated with TCTC. This blog entry is about finding medical resources related to the topic of diabetes. You may have diabetes, and you may want to control it with your doctor’s permission. Also, you may be able to get off of medication with the proper control of the diabetes so that you can live diabetes free. We are not medical professionals but we can show you a variety of resources to use in making informed decisions to talk to your doctor about your specific condition.

I have copied the below article from the Health Source - Consumer Edition database for two reasons.  One is that I wanted to show you how easy the information was to understand.  Two is that is has good information and I wanted to share the article.  Yes, I could have just shared the citation but felt that the text of the article conveyed the quality of material available in the databases.  I thought about using the libraries megasearch option but decided that I wanted to highlight information for consumers.  So I used the Ebsco Health Source - Consumer Edition and typed in "diabetes" "type 2" "type 1" and came up with the below article.  The article is in italics with green text.

BLOOD SUGAR BATTLES: HOW TO PREVENT, TREAT, AND EVEN CURE TYPE 2 DIABETES. By: Bowden, Jonny, Better Nutrition, 0405668X, Nov2011, Vol. 73, Issue 11
Database: Health Source - Consumer Edition
Type 2 diabetes used to be called "adult-onset" diabetes. Not anymore. In fact, it's no longer uncommon to see it in teenagers, and it's even been reported in children as young as four. So what happened? And, more to the point, what can we do about it?

What's the Difference?

Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are entirely different diseases. In both types, there's a problem with the hormone insulin, but it's a very different problem. Type 1 diabetes is basically an autoimmune disease where the body attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin (the beta-cells). As a result, type 1 diabetics simply can't make insulin, or can't make nearly enough of it.

The widely shared view is that injectable insulin is the only available treatment for type 1 diabetes, since without insulin you would simply die. (Prior to the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, children with type 1 diabetes rarely lived beyond their late teens.) But the dietary and lifestyle modifications I'm going to suggest for type 2 diabetes are also a great idea for type 1 diabetics.

Type 2 diabetics make plenty of insulin -- it just doesn't get the job done. And since type 2 diabetes almost wholly results from poor diet and lifestyle choices, it's not only preventable, but correctable.

Sugar Struggles

When you eat, your blood sugar rises and the pancreas releases insulin to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream. How much insulin is released depends on the workload, which depends on the amount of sugar, which depends on what you ate. Simple, right?

Pure carbohydrates -- especially those that are high in sugar or convert to sugar quickly -- have the most impact on blood sugar. Protein has an effect as well, but not nearly as pronounced, and fat has virtually no effect at all. That's why diets higher in fat and protein and lower in carbs are terrific for controlling both blood sugar and insulin.

Insulin's job is to act as a sugar wrangler; it goes into the bloodstream, grabs extra sugar, and escorts it to cells to be burned for energy. Ideally, the cells that need sugar the most are muscle cells, since they're supposed to do the heavy lifting. But the system doesn't always work so well.

Modern Problems

For one thing, our bodies weren't designed for the amount of sugar and processed carbs we consume on a daily basis. And we're not just talking desserts and candy. Virtually all cereals -- except those that are really high in fiber -- as well as most pastas, white rice, white bread, crackers, and the like are high-glycemic, meaning they convert to sugar quickly and raise your blood sugar rapidly. This puts a heavy demand on the pancreas.

Unfortunately, our sedentary lifestyles doesn’t create much demand for sugar as an energy source. So when you eat a carb-laden meal, your blood sugar goes crazy and your pancreas starts pumping out insulin. Insulin floods the bloodstream, grabs up the excess sugar, and starts looking for places to drop it off. The muscle cells certainly don't need it if the only exercise they're getting is pushing the clicker on a TV remote. So the sugar has to go somewhere else. And that's a problem.

Rigid Resistance

The condition whereby muscle cells stop paying attention to insulin is called insulin resistance, and it's at the heart of diabetes. A good visual test for insulin resistance is to look at your belly. Men with waists over 40 inches and women with waists over 35 inches almost certainly have insulin resistance.

When muscle cells start resisting insulin, it takes its sugar payload to the fat cells. And they're more than happy to welcome it in.

In these early stages, the pancreas may produce enough insulin to prevent blood sugar from rising into the diabetic range, but there's trouble brewing. High levels of insulin essentially lock the doors to fat cells, making weight loss difficult. As you gain weight -- an inevitable consequence of insulin resistance -- those fat cells begin secreting hormones of their own, which are designed to keep you fat. The result is you become fatter while progressing toward a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Solutions

The obvious answer is to lower your insulin levels to a normal, healthy range. And the way to do that is by eating foods that don't spike your blood sugar. When blood sugar is normal, there's no need for the pancreas to go into overdrive, and insulin levels will fall almost immediately. In fact, most experts believe that insulin resistance -- the hallmark of type 2 diabetes -- can be reversed within three days of eating mostly low-glycemic foods that don't produce elevated levels of blood sugar.

Since carbohydrates have the greatest impact on blood sugar, it makes sense that a low-carb diet is the ticket to preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. So an eating plan that's higher in protein and fat and lower in starchy carbs is the way to go.

Such a plan can also be helpful for type 1 diabetics, because it may allow them to lower their insulin dose. And that's a good thing because insulin has many other effects in the body besides lowering blood sugar. For one thing it sends a message to the kidneys to hold onto sodium, which raises blood pressure. And if you're interested in losing weight, high levels of insulin are exactly what you don't want.

An eating plan resembling the Paleolithic diet -- foods you could hunt, fish, gather, or pluck -- coupled with exercise, which creates demand tor sugar in muscle cells thus reducing insulin resistance, is the best plan for controlling blood sugar and insulin. And come to think of it, it's a terrific overall plan for anyone wanting to stay healthy for life.

For one thing, our bodies weren't designed for the amount of sugar and processed carbs we consume on a daily basis.

In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, certain vitamins, herbs, and nutrients can help bring your blood sugar into balance.

Remember, we at the TCTC library are NOT medical professionals so please consult with your professional provider before making any medical, diet, or lifestyle changes when you are treating this condition.  The library has a variety of databases and books (both print and electronic) that discuss medical issues.  Start your research at this link: TCTC Library Health web page. 
Written By, Mel Chandler

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