According to a global report from the WHO1:
The global prevalence (age-standardized) of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population.
This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese.
Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012.
Higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused an additional 2.2 million deaths, by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.
Forty-three percent of these 3.7 million deaths occur before the age of 70 years.
The percentage of deaths attributable to high blood glucose or diabetes that occurs prior to age 70 is higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
Whereas the causes of type 1 diabetes are not completely understood, the factors of type 2 diabetes are very known:
- overweight and obesity
- bad food habits
- lack of exercise
Type 2 diabetes is well known, but rarely diagnosed. It also affects kids and young people more and more. This can be avoided and even healed. In order to understand how, I’ve decided to dig into the mechanisms of diabetes.
Insulin, at the center of the problème
Let’s quickly review insulin. This hormone, released by the pancreas, enables the absorption of blood glucose into the muscles and organs like the brain. Without insulin, the glucose stays in the blood and cannot be used.
Type 1 diabetes: insulin shortage
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the lack of cells that are responsible for insulin production (in the pancreas). Without insulin, hyperglycemia takes place: too much sugar (glucose) in the blood.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are:
- Frequent urge to pee, because the body absolutely needs to get rid of that excess of glucose that it cannot use.
- Intense thirst, for the same reason.
- Excessive appetite, because the muscles and the organs can’t receive the energy from glucose without insulin. Since they ignore the problem, the ask the body to eat more in order to get energy.
Why are the cells responsible for insulin production missing? For 90% of the cases, these cells are destroyed by the immune system (auto-immune disease). For the 10% left, we don’t really know.
Type 2 diabetes: Insulin resistance
Type 2 diabetes is triggered by bad food habits, too high in glucides (sugars and carbs). We then know that in that case, blood is loaded with glucose, and therefore insulin. If that overload keeps on for months, that mechanism can get impaired: The insulin receptors (the doors) are over used and end up jammed, not activating anymore when insulin comes and fix upon it. Therefore the door stays closed for the glucose.
Because of that hyperglycemia, pancreas keeps on releasing more insulin in order to lower the sugar level. Insulin has hence a high level as well.
At the same time, since the receptors resist insulin, the glucose can harldy access the muscles. The body asks for more energy, while glucose is already up high in the blood. Since you then feel hungry too often and since you’re too weak to resist, you maintain that vicious insulin resistance circle. Once again, the body has to get rid of that dangerous excess of glucose by urine, which drain the kidneys.
If that insulin resistance mechanism is being kept up for years, a glucose intolerance will take place. After that, type 2 diabetes takes place.
Origin of type 1 diabetes is still unclear. For type 2 diabetes, we do know the risk factors, and still, it keeps raising up quickly… even for kids! Our inactivity and our bad food habits are the big culprits.
The good news is that, whatever your age, you can prevent and even reverse this mechanism You logically need to change towards a low carbs diet and toward exercising. While on a low carbs diet, your calories will come from fat. So do not hesitate to use good fat sources like nuts, olive oil, avocado… Intermittent fasting is also recommended.
The list of the consequences to insulin resistance is long, do not underestimate it.
Did you ever managed to drastically reduce your sugar consumption? Leave a message below in the comments.