Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes

The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes
Along with high blood pressure, which can cause heart attacks and strokes, there is another major disease that affects many Americans that can be directly attributed to obesity - Diabetes. There are certain health problems and lifestyle problems (including being overweight, unhealthy cholesterol, smoking, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity) that can put you at higher risk for diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease where a person has elevated blood sugar. This is due to the body's inability to make insulin, or to use its own insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to several complications, including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputations. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 17 million people in the United States, and one of every three persons born in the United States is at risk for developing the disease. Current statistics are that there are 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 14.6 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 6.2 million people (or nearly one-third) are unaware that they have the disease.
Diabetes is currently the fifth-deadliest disease in the United States. Since 1987 the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined.
The total annual economic cost of diabetes in 2002 was estimated to be $132 billion, or one out of every 10 health care dollars spent in the United States.
The per capita annual costs of health care for people with diabetes rose from $10,071 in 1997 to $13,243 in 2002, an increase of more than 30 percent.
There are 4 different classifications of diabetes. They are:
Type 1 results from the body's failure to produce insulin.
Type 2 results from the body failing to use insulin properly, combined with an insulin deficiency.
Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women.
Pre-diabetes results when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Recently the Diabetes Prevention Program completed a study that conclusively shows that people with pre-diabetes can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making changes in their diet and increasing their level of physical activity. They may even be able to return their blood glucose levels to the normal range. Diet and exercise are personal factors that we can control.
Losing weight and fat is a real challenge for most people. Keeping the weight and fat off is an even greater challenge. This requires making new healthy habits. Remember that losing even a relatively small amount of weight can make a real improvement in reducing your risk for diabetes and other serious conditions. The reality is that losing weight in a healthy way and learning how to keep it off for years is not easy. It takes a new way of thinking.
Any change in your routine is hard at first. By repeating the change over and over, it soon becomes a routine. So to make change into routine all you need to do is repeat, repeat, repeat. It becomes easier and easier over time. You can make big changes in your life just by taking it in small steps.
Take care of yourself and love yourself. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.