Diabetes rates have tripled in Canada in just 18 years.
Lack of awareness combined with folks either ignoring or not taking the signs and symptoms seriously, has led to one in three adults living with diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and can have serious consequences if not properly managed. According to a government of Canada website, “3.4 million Canadians were living with diabetes in 2017-2018,” compared to 1.3 million in 2000-2001. A Diabetes Canada article the following year reported less than 50% of all Canadians can identify less than half the early warning signs of diabetes. Only 33% of Canadians are aware stroke is a complication of diabetes and only 40% of Canadians identified heart disease is a complication of diabetes.
Other signs and symptoms, such as increased thirst or hunger, fatigue, blurred or other issues with vision, slow wound healing, recurring infections, numbness and/or tingling in extremities, especially the feet and lower legs, are more widely recognized. These seemingly less innocuous symptoms, when ignored can lead to more serious metabolic conditions and, ultimately, lower quality of life.
Given that diabetes rates have tripled in Canada in just 18 years, it would seem that a lack of awareness combined with folks either ignoring or not taking these signs and symptoms seriously, has led to one in three adults now living with diabetes.
This is not just in Canada either by the way, the problem is global. The World Health Organization reported in September 2022 that globally the number of people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Houston, we have a problem,
This increase is definitely something I've seen in my practice as well. In addition to these stats, what's shocking is most people don't realize they can make changes to improve and even reverse some of the damage, and others are actually ignoring what their bodies are telling them.
Either way, a delay in doing something to restore health puts you at risk for a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, amputations, blindness, Alzheimer's, dementia and even death.
Just last past week, on two separate occasions, I spoke with two people who neglected the symptoms and were feeling the consequences. One experienced serious issues with vision and is now partially blind in her right eye, the other is not only having serious vision issues, but was admitted to hospital for surgery after the tingling in his feet progressed to waking up one morning to a black toe. Clearly diabetes is not just a “little” sugar issue.
Unstable blood sugar will wreak havoc on your health, if you let it. Most people don't realize they can use food to create hormonal balance and stabilize blood sugar, thereby being proactive in balancing rather than reactive, which is what most diabetics are taught. Test your blood and if sugars are high, take insulin. If low, eat or drink something sweet.
The constant imbalance and violent swings are not doing your body any favours.
Every time your blood sugar spikes, not only does your body store fat, something called “glycation” happens. Glycation occurs when sugar molecules bond with proteins in your body. Every time your blood sugar spikes and crashes, you “glucate,” causing damage to the surrounding tissues and organs, and that creates inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of all disease and each time your body glycates, it fuels the inflammation making you age more quickly.
When you're born, your bones are nice and white, like a piece of white bread. As we age, they start to discolour – much like putting that piece of white bread in the toaster. By the time we die, bones are almost black inside. Like burnt toast. The longer your blood sugar remains unstable, the more your body glycates. The more you glycate, the more inflammation. The more inflammation, the greater the risk for disease – effectively toasting your body much faster than it would if blood sugar were stable.
But what if you chose to be reactive so every time you checked your blood sugar, it was within the normal range? It can be done. The good news is, many of these conditions can be prevented, definitely improved and even reversed by being proactive in living a lifestyle that supports blood sugar stabilization on a daily basis.
Food is the foundation. The health we see or don't see is a direct result of not only the foods we're putting in but how we're eating them. Replacing packaged and processed items with whole, nutrient-dense foods, including a protein, healthy fat and carbohydrate in the right portions, and in the right frequency throughout the day creates hormonal balance and stabilizes blood sugar, naturally. It also gets rid of sugar cravings, turns on metabolism, increases energy and allows your body to release stored fat, without any crazy dieting. Clearly the benefits outweigh the negatives and the sooner you start, the sooner you'll start feeling it.
For more information on how to stabilize your blood sugar, register here for Tania's free, 15 mins training.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.