One in three Americans could develop diabetes by 2050, unless a significant dent is made in the obesity epidemic, according to the latest Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projections.
We are often asked many questions about diabetes, such as “If diabetes runs in the family, will I develop diabetes, and is there anything I can do to prevent this?” If I have pre-diabetes, does this mean I am going to be diabetic?” “If I have diabetes, can I reverse my condition?” Can anything be done to change this outcome?
Let me share a story about two of our clients, which may provide insight to the questions, but first, let me share a few facts.
Overweight and obesity is one of the strongest risk factors for developing diabetes. Almost 90 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30, the relative risk of developing diabetes is 10 times higher if you’re a man and 30 times higher if you’re a woman, when compared to having a normal BMI.
During the 1990s, the number of Type 2 diabetes among American adults jumped by a third due to the growing prevalence of obesity and extra weight in the United States population. Because obesity and diabetes often go hand in hand, a new term has been coined to describe America’s current healthcare crisis: “the diabesity epidemic.”
The good news is Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Weight loss and increasing physical activity can make a big difference in terms of keeping or delaying people with pre-diabetes from getting Type 2 diabetes.
Studies, including the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), have found that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the development of diabetes by close to 60 percent when measured at four years. The DPP program focuses on reducing body weight from five to seven percent by emphasizing dietary changes and by gradually building up to 150 minutes of physical activity per week. The program also focuses on developing behavioral and coping strategies to help deal with issues that cause people to backslide. (Sounds a little like what we do at Greenlite Medicine!)
Managing your weight is the best thing you can do to prevent the development of diabetes.
Meet Greg Melton
Greg had been diagnosed with diabetes for 10 years, but one day, his doctor informed him that his diabetes pills were not enough to control his condition and that he was going to need insulin. Fear struck home and Greg called Greenlite Medicine. One hundred pounds lighter, Greg now has a fasting blood sugar of 90 with an HgA1C below five (normal range) off medication! He feels wonderful and liberated. He continues to come to the Greenlite Medicine Mountain View or San Jose clinics for his maintenance visits and is an inspiration to all of us aspiring for a healthy lifestyle.
When askied if Gred had anything to add, Greg stated, “I am very grateful to Greenlite Medicine for giving me a new start in life and a future of good health.”
Peggy just started her program this month with Greenlite Medicine. She was taking three diabetes medications and was going to require insulin. Her motivation for making a change came from watching her sister-in-law – who is also obese and suffers from diabetes – endure pain from the complications of poor wound healing related to diabetes after a recent surgery. She did not want to have a similar situation happen to her. To date, Peggy has lost about 10 pounds and is off one of her diabetes medications. She’s also reduced her other dose in half! She reports feeling more energized and hopeful.
So, YES, managing your weight not only helps you prevent diabetes, it can also help improve your diabetes management, and possibly even reverse it!