In 2018, 10.5% of the US adult population or 34.2 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes. Every year, almost 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes2.
So, what is diabetes?
Diabetes has two subcategories based on the origin of the disease. Type 1 diabetes happens when an individual has a pancreas that doesn’t produce insulin, which is a hormone that shuttles glucose into your cells to be used as energy. With all type I individuals, insulin must be administered throughout the day via automatic insulin pump or scheduled injections for their body to use glucose as it should. Type 1 is most common found in children and adolescents comparted to adults.
Type II diabetes is the most common form and happens when the cells become “insensitive” to insulin due to unhealthy lifestyle decisions, various diseases and illnesses and more. The body can no longer utilize insulin as it should, therefore leaving glucose in the blood to build up. About 90% of Type II diabetes is attributed to excess body fat.
The most common signs and symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, extreme hunger, wounds and bruises that are slow to heal, weight loss (in type 1), persistent nerve pain in extremities, and blurry vision1. With all medical issues, talk to your doctor to get tested and create a plan that is best for you.
How do I know if I’m at risk and what are the long-term effects?
Your chances of having prediabetes/diabetes go up if you:
- Are 45 or older
- Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
- Have immediate family that has diabetes
- Are overweight
- Are physically inactive
- Have high blood pressure
- Have low HDL (good) cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Had gestational diabetes
- Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome3
If left untreated, diabetes can cause long-term damage to various parts of the body. Below are just a few complications that can occur:
- Neuropathy (nerve damage) in the extremities
- Retinopathy and potential blindness
- Coronary heart disease
- Increased risk of stroke
- Delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis)
- Poor wound healing that can lead to gangrene and possible amputation.
How can I manage diabetes with lifestyle changes?
There is no “one size fits all” diabetes diet. Individual bodies respond differently to varies nutrition plans. What we do know is that a balanced diet that incorporates lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and high-fiber whole grains aids in the management of diabetes. Yes! Carbs are not the enemy and, like previously mentioned, keep your blood sugar stable. When it comes to your choices, talk with a Registered Dietitian that specializes in Medical Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes to help you find the best choices for your personalized needs4.
Another key factor in the management of diabetes is daily exercise. When you’re active, your body needs energy and your cells are more “sensitive” to insulin. The more you are physically active, the more efficiently your body uses insulin and glucose. No matter your starting point, the important thing is to just start! For more ideas and recommendations on the right exercise routine for you, contact our Exercise Specialist to develop your personalized plan5.
How can bariatric surgery help improve my diabetes?
Per the statement given by The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF), bariatric surgery is to be considered an early option in the treatment of Type II diabetes and is appropriate for those who have not achieved the recommended treatment goals with medical and lifestyle intervention therapies. Bariatric surgery options included in this statement are gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and duodenal switch.
The statistics on improvement in type 2 diabetes with the use of bariatric surgery is impressive!
Surgery improves T2DM in nearly 90% of patients by:
- Lowering blood sugar through improved insulin sensitivity
- Reducing the need for and the amount of medications
- Improving other diabetes-related health problems like kidney disease and coronary heart disease.
In addition, 78% of individuals experience complete remission of their T2DM after going through a bariatric procedure6!
While bariatric surgery (and any other surgery) comes with risks, the beneficial outcomes greatly outweigh the risk. The risk of long-term continuation of type 2 diabetes is much greater than that of any bariatric surgery.
If you’re interested in improving your quality of life and potentially eliminating your diabetes, give us a call today to schedule your new surgery consult!