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The Truth About Diabetes

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Type I

There are two types of diabetes. Type I diabetes, often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes since it occurs early in life, 

involves the complete failure of the body to produce any insulin. It is caused by a haywire immune system that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

The pancreas contains beta cells which make insulin, a hormone that helps cells take in the glucose (sugar) they need. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it causes two problems: It starves your cells for energy and it produces complications in small blood vessels, especially in the eyes, kidneys and heart.

Sometimes, the beta cells get wiped out and can not produce insulin anymore. Without insulin, glucose stays in the blood instead of going into cells. Insulin shots let your cells take in glucose. If you have Type I diabetes, you must take insulin to stay alive which is why it is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Type I diabetes accounts for only about 5% to 10% of all diabetes.

A recent study reported in The Lancet discovered a link between Vitamin D supplementation and a decreased frequency of Juvenile Diabetes. Children who took at least 2000 IU of vitamin D daily had a rate ratio of 0.22 compared with those who regularly received less. Also children who were suspected of having rickets during the first year of life had a rate ratio of 3.0 for diabetes mellitus compared with those without suspicion of rickets. The conclusion of the study was: "Ensuring that infants receive adequate amounts of vitamin D may help reverse the increasing trend of Type I diabetes mellitus." [Lancet:11/3/01;358:1500-1503]

Type II Diabetes

Type II diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or properly use, insulin. It has historically been referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes and is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 90% to 95% of all diabetics. It develops over a longer period of time and is generally diagnosed in adulthood, hence the name.

Type II causes one's pancreas to shift into overdrive, sending out spikes of insulin in a fear-stricken attempt to try keeping up with ever-rising levels of blood glucose. Eventually, the pancreas may give up trying to manage glucose control, and the unfortunate result is dangerously-high glucose levels in the face of insulin breakdowns.

Type II begins when it takes higher and higher amounts of insulin for the cells to open up and let blood sugar in. This resistance generally continues undetected for years, since the pancreas is usually able to compensate by producing ever-increasing amounts of insulin. After a time, however, one of two things happens.

Either the quality of insulin lessens and eventually the pancreatic cells start losing their ability to produce it or the cells resist using insulin while their pancreas keeps producing more and more. This excess insulin helps set the stage for high blood pressure and poor cholesterol levels thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular complications.

The recently published UR Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) suggests that before most patients are actually diagnosed with type II diabetes, the pancreas has lost its ability to properly control post-meal blood sugar levels for over eight years and insulin resistance has been present for up to 12 years. Until recently, the earliest Type II diabetes was seen in those in their 40s or older. But in the last few years, an alarming number of children have been diagnosed with type II diabetes. Type II is appearing more frequently in pre-pubescent children, and has even been documented in children as young as four years old. (American Diabetes Foundation)

According to Endocrinologist Gerald Bernstein of Beth Israel Hospital in New York and past president of the American Diabetes Association, "Twenty years ago, only 2% of children diagnosed with diabetes had Type II. Today it accounts for 30% to 50% of new diagnoses among children ages 9 to 19."

Currently, one in every five American kids is obese. And since obesity is directly linked to diabetes, the target market for diabetic pharmaceuticals now extends clear down to four year olds. Adult-onset diabetes has increased between 600% and 1000% in the last 60 years. It is currently increasing at a rate of 6% a year, and that is expected to accelerate. According to Dr. Emily Senay on CBS news, from 1990 to 1998, Type II diabetes increased 70% in 30 year olds.

According to Bernard B. Tulsi, a writer for Technology Investor who did a piece in the January 2001 issue on diabetes called "The Perfect Disease" (of course he meant from a business perspective), "diabetes is one of the most costly health problems in the US -- with an annual tab of more than $100 billion and growing. Diabetes drugs, the fastest growing category, cost $3.5 billion a year... then there are diagnostic systems, delivery systems, needles, etc." He maintains that 2200 new diabetics are diagnosed every day and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates 798,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

"This disease accounts for one out of every 10 healthcare dollars," says Dr. Zachary Bloomgarden, associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai Medical School. The ADA reports 10.3 million diabetics have been diagnosed, but an additional 5.4 million people don't know they have it and when they find out they will be faced with spending $2500 to $3000 a year on needles, insulin and blood testing strips.

The total annual economic cost of diabetes in 1997 was $98 billion. That included $44 billion in medical costs. The other $54 billion is the indirect costs of disability and mortality.

Prognosis

Most doctors fail to tell their patients that, even if they use the best conventional therapies available, type II diabetes will only get progressively worse. Getting worse slowly is not the same as getting better. When you look at the current treatment programs, this shouldn't come as any surprise.

The whole idea in treating diabetes is to bring blood sugar levels back to normal quickly. This must be done immediately after eating and then gradually continue for several hours, as food is being digested. In non-diabetic individuals, this process occurs very smoothly because the body constantly adjusts its secretion of insulin depending on the levels of blood sugar. The body uses a feedback system to monitor and adjust insulin levels. Therein lies part of the dilemma with the use of supplemental insulin--and other hormones. Supplemental hormones flood the body and essentially shut off the feedback system. In an effort to compensate for this problem there have been two basic forms of drugs used to treat type II diabetes.

The older class of drugs, called sulfonylureas, are longer-lasting agents (Diabenese, for example), which stimulate the production of insulin from the pancreas. The newer drugs do several things, like 1) block the liver from producing extra glucose (or blood sugar), 2) increase insulin sensitivity, and 3) reduce the absorption of glucose in the intestinal tract.

Unfortunately, without a feedback system in place to determine the exact dosage needed for each meal, using either of these drug types is a shotgun approach at best. When too little insulin is released, blood sugar levels rise, causing the formation of triglycerides and fat storage. When there's too much insulin, blood sugar levels begin to fall (hypoglycemia), triggering a feeling of hunger and the constant need to eat, which also causes weight gain and fat storage.

Hypoglycemia is a term for low blood sugar. Diabetes is high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia from too much insulin can be a very serious problem with diabetics. Almost 2% of diabetics die as a result of hypoglycemia. Thousands more (15% to 20%) experience the problem during treatment and 60% of those require hospitalization for 12 to 72 hours in an attempt to get the problem stabilized. Five percent of those die. Hypoglycemia is particularly a problem in diabetics who: 1) are over 60 years old; 2) have cardiovascular or kidney problems; 3) practice inconsistent eating habits; and 4) take other medications.

These problems explain why diabetics treated with oral medications such as those described generally have a weight gain of anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds or more and why this weight gain and extra deposits of fat become part of the vicious cycle that causes diabetes to progressively worsen.

Additionally, the roller-coaster effect from constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels contributes to increased blood fats, high blood pressure, increased stickiness of the blood and clot formation, heart failure, poly-cyctic ovary disease, nerve pain and degeneration, and damage to the small blood vessels, especially those in the eyes, the kidneys, and the lower limbs.

Some oral diabetes drugs, such as Glucophage, also have the side effect of raising one of the biggest markers for heart disease, homocystine levels.  Although no one is really sure why this happens, it is suspected that the drugs interfere with the absorption of the B vitamins, especially B12.  If you take any oral diabetes drug, be sure to have your homocystine level checked.  You may also want to take a Folic Acid B12 supplement to help insure your blood levels of homocystine stay in the normal range.  According to Dr. Bruce West, Standard Process Labs makes the best Folic Acid B12 supplement.  His recommended dosage is 3 daily.  Dr. West also recommends the Mediterranian diet with lower carbohydrates, eliminating bread and avoiding all wheat products for a year.  A good source of pure water that eliminates all chlorine and fluorine is also very important.

Before you place complete trust in your medication to take care of your diabetes problem, take a look at this list of complications linked directly to progressing diabetes. It comes from the American Diabetes Foundation.

Diabetes is now:

1) the leading cause of blindness in people age 20 to 74

2) the leading cause of kidney failure

3) the leading cause of amputation of the lower limb

4) responsible for 50% to 60% of the impotence problems in males over age 50

5) responsible for severe nerve damage in 60% to 70% of all diabetics

6) the major cause of stroke in the United States

7) known to increase the risk of heart disease by 2-4 times over normal.

Diabetes is one of those diseases that can make the treating doctor look like an absolute genius. After placing a patient on diabetic medication, the doctor can predict with uncanny accuracy the chain of health problems that will begin to develop like clockwork in the upcoming years. Keep in mind, the chain of events will happen even if you comply perfectly with the therapy. In essence, the doctors can predict the progressive decline--but can do nothing to prevent it.

 

For more information on the diabetes related topics below, be sure to log in to altmedangel.com to read the rest of this article:

  • What is the best Folic Acid-B12 supplement and how should it be taken?

  • American Diabetes Foundation: list of complications linked directly to progressing diabetes while on medication.

  • Diabetic Medications Discussed, including Acarbose, Sulfonylurea Drugs, Metformin and Rezulin.

  • Why is type II diabetes often observed in certain blood types?

  • Research of Richard Anderson of the US Department of Agriculture, on foods and their relationship to insulin.

  • The role of exercise and corresponding muscle tissue in relation to blood sugar uptake 

  • What About Fat?   What about Wine?

  • 4 Painless Tips to improve your Eating Habits

  • What foods and supplements have been proven helpful?

  • The role of the thyroid gland in people with diabetes

  • The link to obesity

  • How does Chocolate affect insulin levels

  • Why Drugs Won't Solve the Problem

  • What are the most important factors in stemming the tide?

  • An extremely good book to read on diet and exercise, including a section dedicated to Diabetes in which it discusses the use of phytochemicals and antioxidants to help prevent many of the complications stemming from lifelong diabetes, such as cataracts, neuropathy, and cardiovascular problems.

 

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