According to a recent report by Population Health Metrics, annual diagnosed type 2 diabetes incidence (new cases) is expected to increase from about 8 cases per 1,000 in 2008 to about 15 in 2050. The report states that these projected increases are largely attributable to the aging of the U.S. population, increasing numbers of members of higher-risk minority groups in the population, and people with diabetes living longer. Alarming? Absolutely. Diabetes was the nation’s seventh leading cause of death in 2007.
However, type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. Although genetics play a role, most of the cases of type 2 diabetes result from poor diet, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. We frequently see patients in our offices that are at high-risk or even borderline diabetic, meaning their blood glucose levels are elevated, but not quite high enough to be considered diabetic. We take a multi-tiered approach when test results indicate type 2 diabetes risk, including ongoing monitoring of blood glucose, immediate dietary changes, nutritional supplements (we’ve mentioned previously that vitamin D deficiency is thought to contribute to many health conditions, including diabetes), and working with these patients on a fitness program based on their lifestyle and interests—one that they’re more likely to stick with.
Our practice is that it is better to take a proactive approach to avoid diseases like diabetes, rather than waiting until a patient is diagnosed. New diagnoses are occurring in younger and younger patients, but we often see risk factors in men and women over 40 because hormone levels also play a role in diabetes and blood glucose management, as well as preventing insulin resistance—which is often tied into metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and diabetes).
The best way to avoid becoming a statistic? Continuous monitoring of hemoglobin A1C and fasting insulin levels so we can really see if patients have metabolic syndrome or are insulin resistant and follow their response to our program. We also use body fat, lean muscle mass and waist measurement. It has been shown that testosterone deficiency and diabetes and insulin resistance go hand in hand. That is why the hormonal replacement helps to control those issues, along with nutritional supplements. Additional, we strongly encourage patients to implement dietary changes immediately, replacing unhealthy, processed food with high-fiber, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Eliminate sugary drinks and soda, including diet sodas. Limit alcohol intake to a glass of red wine a day (or none at all). Listen to your medical team—ongoing monitoring, frequently checking in with a nutritionist and fitness program educator, and accountability is key to being able to stick to a program that will make you healthier, happier, and disease-free.
Link to full PHM summary and report: http://www.pophealthmetrics.com/content/8/1/29