Diabetes Prevention by Dr. Rothkopf
by Dr. Michael. M. Rothkopf, MD, FACP, FACN © 2012
Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?
The answer to this question is definitely YES!
Remember we’re talking about Type II diabetes not Type I. Let me explain the difference between them.
Type I diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes. It’s a disease that permanently scars the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. These are known as the beta cells of an area of the pancreas called the Islets of Langerhans. We think that a virus attacks these cells or some other kind of inflammatory reaction injures them, but the end result is that these delicate cells are damaged permanently and can no longer produce enough insulin for the body. The patient is then dependant on the injection of insulin in order to prevent serious metabolic disturbances, and even death.
Type I diabetes most often happens in childhood. It’s very different from Type II diabetes. In fact in some ways you can think of Type I and Type II diabetes as being the exact opposites. But both result in dangerous elevations of the blood sugar and both can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, amputation and blindness.
Type II diabetes is what most adults are talking about when they say “I’m a diabetic”. Type II diabetes used to be called adult-onset maturity onset diabetes or diet-controlled diabetes. But we now see that we have so many overweight kids, we also see it in children. And most of the time Type II diabetes patients need complex medical therapies to control it, including insulin shots.
Type II diabetes is strongly associated with obesity. What we’re seeing today as our population is becoming overweight and obese, is an emerging type II diabetes epidemic. The rate is increasing in United States by 50% or more. In other countries the rate is almost 100%. Meaning that the incidence of diabetes is doubling there. The International Diabetes Federation predicts that there will be 438 million diabetics on Earth by the year 2030, up from 285 million today. This will have a tremendous effect on our overall health, productivity and economics. We have to do something to stop the rise. We have to make a major commitment to preventing diabetes whenever possible.
Although everyone is at potential risk of diabetes, its also important to realize that some parts of our population are at much higher risk than others For example, people who’s ancestry is linked to Africa, Asia, India, and Native Americans are at much higher risk than Northern European descendants.
Diabetes can be prevented since this is a condition with associated factors that we all have some control over; namely diet, exercise and weight control. It’s not going to be easy but we all have to try.
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