Diabetes, a Disease You Can Control

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Since the mid 1990ís the number of new diagnosed cases of diabetes, in particular type 2 diabetes has increased by 90%. This corresponds to a tripling of the number of Americans with diabetes since 1980.

New research highlights that while many people recently diagnosed may feel scared, unsure, and frustrated; people with type 2 diabetes have a lot of control over the disease, and in some cases can even reverse diabetes.

According to Dr. John Merendino, an endocrinologist that specializes in diabetes care, several simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards controlling diabetes and living a happy life. The first is portion control, research shows that when individuals with diabetes control their portion sizes, often through the use of meal replacements, that they are able to lose weight and better control their diabetes.

According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute losing even a small amount of weight, as little as 10%, the amount most research studies aim for, can dramatically improve a persons diabetes.

Diabetes is caused by the body not being able to produce enough insulin to maintain the amount of carbohydrate in the blood at a safe level. The key to maintaining blood sugar according to Dr. Merendino is small, frequent, portion controlled meals. This allows for a slow maintained release of carbohydrates into the blood and maintains energy levels while keeping blood glucose levels in the safe range.

Exercise is also a major way that diabetes individuals can control their diabetes. First, exercise can help an individual shed pounds of body weight and help them lose the 10% recommended minimum from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. Exercise also helps people lose specifically fat around the midsection, often called visceral fat, by doctors, that is considered a more dangerous place to carry body fat for diabetes. Finally, exercise is the only lifestyle change known to make insulin more effective at lowering blood carbohydrate. So while in diabetes the amount of insulin released is not enough to lower blood carbohydrate to a safe amount, exercise can help to correct for this.

While the increase in diabetes is staggering in the United States over the previous 20 years, most of it is preventable, and if a person has diabetes it can be controlled through lifestyle changes.

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