Healthy Habit

Dr.Neetu Dhiman


November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Nov. 14 is designated as World Diabetes Day.

According to, the statistics indicate that over nine million Canadians live with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

What is diabetes? There are several forms.

•Insulin dependant diabetes mellitus (Type 1) is an autoimmune condition where the pancreas is unable to secrete the hormone insulin, which is required to control the amount of glucose in the blood.

It is generally detected in childhood or in a patient’s early teens. It requires insulin for treatment.

•In non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus, NIDDM (Type 2) the pancreas can produce insulin but cannot produce enough to control glucose circulating in the blood.

According to well known health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, nearly all cases are reversible for those willing to implement lifestyle changes through diet and exercise.

•Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy and is temporary. If the blood glucose is not controlled it may result in a larger size baby and a risk for diabetes in the future.

•Pre-diabetes is when blood glucose is tested and is higher than the normal range, indicating a risk for developing Type 2 diabetes if not controlled.

•Diabetes insipidus: a rare form.

What are some of the symptoms of diabetes? Diabetes is from the Greek word meaning “siphon—to pass through” and mellitus, Latin for “honeyed or sweet.” This refers to excess glucose in the urine, or sweet urine, characteristic of untreated diabetes.

Symptoms include: blurry vision; excess thirst; copious, extreme hunger even after meals; frequent clear urine; weight loss or gain; frequent infections, bacteria, Candida (fungal); numbness/tingling in the feet or extremities; and slow wound healing.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which can have a massive impact on health, although stated earlier, Type 2 can be prevented and treated, but it is not a disorder to be taken lightly. If it is not treated properly, complications from diabetes include: heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, nerve health and eye disease to name a few.

According to Dr. Mercola, the approach to treating Type 2 diabetes is all wrong, which is why there are such staggering numbers.

Type 2 diabetes is not a blood sugar disease it is a disease of insulin signaling and sensitivity.

How do you optimize insulin levels for Type 2? This is a complicated matter and often requires the guidance of a trained health care professional well versed in nutritional health. However, a general outline of what needs to occur for treatment is what we can discuss.

Eliminate all white and brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, dried fruits and all artificial sweeteners. This includes becoming a food detective and eliminating hidden sugars, natural or artificial, found in juice, jams, breads, sauces, desserts, etc. Depending on the stage of blood glucose, fresh fruits and fructose sugar may need to be reduced temporarily.

Eliminate grains. In the body, grains are broken down into sugars. If we are trying to reduce sugar levels in the blood, grains must be eliminated or drastically reduced, even organic ones. Grains include whole wheat and white breads, pasta, pastries, cakes, rice, cereals, crackers and corn. Grains and sugar are a major factor for the body’s adverse insulin reaction in Type 2 diabetes.

Exercise is essential to lower insulin resistance. Without exercise it is extremely difficult to treat and normalize insulin sensitivity.

A goal of treatment is to make insulin more sensitive to glucose, resulting in a lower blood glucose level. These are several of the basic nutritional and lifestyle factors to be discussed and implemented. However, treatment is much more detailed. Routine testing may include fasting insulin levels; glucose levels; and Hemoglobin A1C.

Information regarding diabetes can be conflicting and confusing. Taking charge of your health is the key, become empowered and find a like-minded team of health professionals to help achieve your goal. It is a journey, not a destination.

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