Boomers Health - Disease Prevention Series
Type II Diabetes
The Slow Motion Suicide of Australia’s Over 50’s -- And How to Save Yourself
For Boomers Health
© Copyright Boomers Club Pty Ltd August 2016
Of all the age related chronic diseases Type II diabetes is the least influenced by genetics and epigenetics yet it is affecting older Australians at a epidemic rate.
It is estimated that around 1.4 million Australians have Type II diabetes and the vast majority of these are over the age of 50. If it were a communicable disease, it would be called an epidemic. So many people are diagnosed it seemingly has become an accepted component of ageing. While being told we have cancer sends shivers down our spine; and the heart attack we survive changes our outlook on life, a diagnosis of diabetes just doesn’t seem to have the same impact.
This is inexplicable; diabetes is insidious. It is the leading cause of limb amputations in Australia, it is known to damage eyesight, and slow wound healing; one could go on and on about it. Diabetics are at a two to four times greater risk of suffering heart attack or stroke.
Just being male and over 60 exposes them to a high risk of a heart attack, who in their right mind would want to multiply that risk by four! To add to the good news, numerous medical researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s disease Type III diabetes and there is founding science behind their conclusions (see Alzheimer’s article).
These statements may be blunt and appear harsh. It is aggravating that so many older Aussies have diabetes. If no one had this disease our nation’s budget deficit might not even exist.
Why am I being so blunt? Of all the age related chronic diseases Type II diabetes is the least influenced by genetics and epigenetics. In the vast majority of cases Type II Diabetes is a self inflicted disease; by all means it could be considered a slow motion suicide.
Glucose is a sugar, it is a fuel that is utilised for life in all animals. In practise the only fuel that can be metabolised by red blood cells is glucose. Red blood cells carry the life giving oxygen to every single cell in our body.
No Glucose = No red blood cells = No oxygen = DEATH
Glucose is pretty important stuff. So our bodies have a mechanism of storing it up, we have a glucose fuel tanks. Excess glucose that is not needed at the time is converted to a substance called glycogen. Glycogen is like, but not the same as potato starch.
Glycogen is mostly stored in our muscles (about 450gm) and our liver (about 100gm).
That stored in muscles can only be used in muscles and cannot be released to be used by other cells in the body. On the other hand that stored in the liver can, and is released by it in a controlled manner to provide fuel for other cells that need it.
With regard to diabetes it is very important to note that the storage of glucose as glycogen is strictly limited!!!
Although some glucose is absolutely necessary for life itself, excess blood sugar levels are TOXIC. As with everything in our bodies, it’s all about balance; and we have very sophisticated internal systems that control blood sugar levels to ensure glucose is available while at the same time ensuring blood glucose levels don’t become toxic.
Our Glucose Control Systems
Our pancreas figures out how much glucose is in our blood, when there is too much it produces and releases insulin into our our bloodstream triggering our cells to take up the glucose, use it for energy or convert it to glycogen for storage. When blood glucose is low the pancreas produces glucagon which signals the cells (mostly only the liver cells) to breakdown the stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. Diabetes is the result of this system failing.
If we consume too much glucose, the pancreas pumps out insulin in order to have the toxic excess removed from our blood. As time passes our cells have had enough of converting and storing the glucose and reduce the number of insulin receptors on their surface. Our pancreas responds by producing even more insulin to cope with fewer receptors.
The near immediate return to normal glucose control is due to eating nothing and continuing to eat less; a side effect of this is weight loss.
Comparison trials have compared lifestyle changes to the surgical approach the surgical approach is always much more successful. Only a very small percentage of the lifestyle participants ever achieve blood glucose control and exhibit diabetes remission in the long term (at the end of two years in most trials)
In fact correct lifestyle modifications will work almost all of the time (if the diabetes has not progressed beyond redemption ie requires insulin). The issue is that the majority of people are unable instigate and maintain the lifestyle actions needed to be effective. If the right lifestyle changes are made and retained; they work!
Can Type II Diabetes Be Cured?
Being overweight does not cause diabetes - overeating can cause diabetes and a side effect is weight gain! Not all overweight persons are diabetic, but nearly all diabetics are overweight!
Numerous Obese people are electing to undergo Double Bariatric surgery to lose weight. This involves surgically removing part of the stomach as well as reducing the effective length of the small intestine (that part of the gut through which food constituents are absorbed). This is complicated and risky surgery!!!!
The research shows that this surgery is far more effective in achieving long term weight loss than lifestyle changes. It also shows that of those undergoing this type of surgery, about 80% achieve complete remission at the end of two year trials. This remission is often related to the amount of weight loss achieved; but this is BS! It BS because diabetic remission and the return of normal blood glucose control occurs within days after the surgery; before significant weight loss occurs! After double bariatric surgery the healing process requires that the patient can only drink water for about a week after the surgery, then move to liquid foods only.
It can be six months before normal eating can safely resume. The cells respond by expressing even fewer insulin receptors, and the pancreas responds by pumping out even more insulin, and the viscous cycle is initiated and continues until there is a breakdown and it can no longer cope; resulting in the loss of control of blood sugars which is Type II Diabetes.
This does not happen overnight, it takes many decades. During this time blood sugars (glucose) remain within healthy safe levels, there are no symptoms and our GP is happy with our blood sugar test results. But eventually the proverbial “---t hits the fan” when the control systems give up and we have our first out of range blood sugar test result. Our GP tells us we are diabetic or pre-diabetic (it’s arguable that such a state of prediabetes actually exists). At this time the discussion begins on what we need to do to manage the disease, when in fact the discussion should be about what we need to do to cure it.
Boomers Health Lifestyle Changes
Our Aussie health authorities recommend a “heart healthy diet” on the basis that a diabetics risk of heart disease is up to four times that of a non-diabetics, and diabetes can be “managed” with medication. We have two issues with this advice.
Firstly at Boomers Health we do not believe that the heart healthy diet promoted to us all is the best to prevent heart attack and stroke. Secondly, Diabetes has been described as “slow motion suicide” and actual suicide is the result of an individual's state of mind. To prevent suicides medical professionals utilise antidepressant medication in conjunction with professional psychological help. A healthy state of mind has to be restored to prevent suicides.
For lifestyle changes to be implemented effectively, and last forever, our eating “state of mind” needs to be fixed first. Simply instructing people what, and how much to eat, as well as what and how much exercise to do; just doesn’t work for the vast majority of people. Those few people who have had long term success would, in all likelihood, have found change much easier to achieve if their eating “state of mind” were addressed first.
Boomers Health “Retrain your Brain” section is the first step towards reducing the risk of being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and or reversing the condition. Then simply follow the weight loss or healthy eating diet program; whichever is appropriate.