Every now and again, it’s helpful to get a perspective on everything that’s happening in the world of type 2 diabetes. The bad news is that type 2 is on the rise, but the good news is that more is being done to combat it. Here’s your flyover view of what’s occurring in this world and what you can do to prevent and control it.
Trends: Type 2 Diabetes on the Rise
The number of people affected by type 2 diabetes is constantly on the rise. T2 can affect a person’s long term health, drastically change family life, exact enormous financial costs both personally and nationally, and create severe problems on every level. More than 26 million people live with diabetes, with an additional 85 million having pre-diabetes or being undiagnosed. Just last year, 1.9 million new cases were reported. T2 is the most common form of diabetes, making it one of the deadliest diseases in the nation. According to conservative estimates, T2 is rated the seventh biggest killer in the United States.
As if the rampant rise of T2 among adults wasn’t bad enough, the news is even more alarming for children. For years, T2 was considered an adult-only type of disease. Now, as child obesity rates skyrocket, so have cases among children. This trend is so disturbing because the earlier the onset in a person’s life, the worse the condition becomes over the course of their life. Furthermore, young women with T2 usually give birth to infants with a greater likelihood of developing diabetes as well.
Problems of this proportion can’t be wished away. Though the statistics are staggering, there is hope for improvement.
Type 2 Treatments: Lifestyle Changes Are Best
There are a variety of drugs that are produced to treat diabetes. However, as necessary and effective as drugs are, no prescription can match the healing power of lifestyle changes. T2 can be prevented, delayed, and even reversed. The key is making everyday life changes. What kind of lifestyle changes? The National Institute of Health recommends this simple program:
Weight loss: 5-7%
Exercise: 30 minutes, 5 times weekly
The most aggressive areas of research in T2 have to do with the links (molecular, genetic, diet) between obesity and diabetes. The two are so inextricably linked that to fight one is to fight the other.
Type 2 Diabetes: Things to Avoid. Things to Try.
Though the research is inconclusive, there are signs that certain environmental factors may contribute to this disease, but other practices may help reduce the risk.
Avoid using plastics with BPA. You may have heard of BPA, bisphenol A, a chemical used in the production of plastics. As time has gone on, scientists have discovered that BPA can produce some pretty nasty side effects. Now, the chemical is virtually nonexistent in the production of quality child dishes/cups, cookware, and toys (though you should double-check, just to make sure). Scientists discovered a link between high BPA levels in urine, and the likelihood of T2. Researchers are quick to point out that the study is inconclusive, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to steer clear from BPAs.
Drink milk. Remember how your mom always insisted that you drink your milk? It looks like her intuition was spot-on. Recent studies indicate that something as commonplace and mundane as drinking a daily glass of milk can help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. The daily glass of milk method for staving off type 2 diabetes indicated a 43% lowered risk for type 2 diabetes.
Get your sleep. Recent studies show that sleep and insulin are connected in closer ways that we previously realized. Just one sleepless night (four hours or less) can impair glucose tolerance. The more sleep loss, the worse things can get.
A Science Daily report observed a correlation between how much obese teens sleep, and how likely they are to developed type 2 diabetes. Sleep deprived teens showed a disruption in insulin secretion and glucose levels, ominous signs for the onset of type 2 diabetes. How much sleep should teens be getting? You’ve probably heard this before: 7.5 to 8.5 hours per night.
Diabetes Type 2: Medications and Supplements
GABA. It’s called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which sounds lethal. It’s actually a potentially healthy supplement that comes from the valerian plant.
It is used for its sedative and anxiolytic qualities, but fresh research points to its potential usefulness as a type 2 diabetes drug. It is no magic cure, but the research suggests that it may lower one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Linagliptin. One newcomer to the type 2 diabetes drug market is called linagliptin. The drug is taken orally in a once-a-day pill. It proved effective in reducing blood glucose levels for people who were newly diagnosed or had been living with T2 for many years. Although it may not be effective as a standalone treatment, it has no conflict with most medications such as metformin.
Combating diabetes will take work – but it’s worth it. On a personal level, you can be doing many things to reduce your risk and enhance your health. It may be as simple as grabbing a glass of milk, or maybe just starting up that exercise routine you’ve been promising yourself you’ll do. What’s keeping you? It’s your life. Get going.