The nation’s biggest health threat is not heart disease, it’s not stroke — it’s not even cancer, say many experts.
“Diabetes is the No. 1 health problem America faces today,” says Newsmax Health contributor Dr. David Brownstein. “High glucose, or high sugar levels, is the reason for the out-of-control freight train of patients that will derail whatever type of healthcare plan we have.”
The numbers are staggering. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children have diabetes. Another 79 million have prediabetes, a predecessor to diabetes in which sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as the full-blown disease.
“Diabetes is an epidemic, but the main cause is preventable,” says Dr. Brownstein, author of “Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health.” “The vast majority of prediabetes and diabetes is the result of poor lifestyle choices, especially our diets.
Americans eat too much.
“One of the main risk factors for diabetes is being overweight,” he says. “Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and a third of those are obese. Most people who are overweight are already prediabetic.”
Diabetes costs the United States $174 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity.
In addition to overeating, we consume the wrong kinds of foods, Dr. Ray Sahelian, a nationally recognized expert on supplements and author of “Mind Boosters,” tells Newsmax Health. Dr. Sahelian says our diets include too many high-carb, highly processed foods and too many simple sugars, which stress the body. Often, he says, the result is diabetes.
“With diabetes, the body’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels,” says Dr. Sahelian. “People with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes may continue to produce enough — perhaps even too much — but insulin receptors on cells develop resistance, a condition that prevents the body from using glucose effectively.”
Sugar continues to circulate in the blood and build up. The health results are devastating and include increased risks for heart isease, nerve damage, blindness, and kidney damage.
Who is in danger of developing diabetes?
“Practically everybody,” Dr. Brownstein says. “It’s an equal opportunity disease — both sexes, all ages, and all ethnic groups are at risk.
“It’s vital to keep your blood sugar within normal range. As soon as it begins creeping up, the risk of all chronic diseases rises and health problems begin to cascade.”
There’s no cure for Type 1 diabetes, which is thought to be immune-related, but many researchers believe Type 2 diabetes — which includes up to 95 percent of all diabetics — is preventable and can even be reversed.
Monday, April 2, 2012 By
Sylvia Booth Hubbard