This Epidemic Is Your Fault… But It Doesn’t Have to Be

There’s an epidemic sweeping the country.

I’ve warned you about it before, but it’s an ongoing problem that is only going to get worse.

I’m talking about type 2 diabetes. The problem is that more Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes than they did a generation ago. And now, more young folks (think under age 65) receive the diagnosis than ever before.

Look at the prevalence. This represents the number of Americans currently living with type 2 diabetes…

This is from a report in 2012… But today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 30.2 million adults have it. That’s almost 10% of our population.

And according to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.5 million people receive a diabetes diagnosis each year.

Something the chart doesn’t show… About a quarter of folks with diabetes don’t realize they have it. This is serious and dangerous.

Untreated, diabetes can lead to…

  • Kidney failure 
  • Blindness
  • Heart disease 
  • Nerve damage
  • Low blood flow to your feet 
  • Reduced immune function

Diabetes rates continue to stay much higher than they should. And a more worrisome trend I’ve seen lately – the rising number of kids getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Years ago, type 2 diabetes was called “late-onset” diabetes. But that just isn’t the case anymore. With more kids and young adults receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, we’re set to see higher numbers (and more complications) in the coming years. 

I’ve talked a lot about diabetes in the past and how to lower your risk and improve your symptoms. But let’s review how diabetes affects our bodies…

In a healthy body, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that breaks down the sugar glucose. Insulin also moves that sugar to our cells for proper use.

Type 2 diabetes interferes with your body’s ability to break down that sugar effectively. Either your pancreas stops making enough insulin or your cells don’t respond to insulin well (called insulin resistance). Each of these problems leads to a backup of sugar in your blood. More sugar in your blood means your pancreas makes more insulin, but if that happens too much, it wears out.

Too much sugar makes your blood heavier and harder to circulate, so you risk damage to your heart. In addition, your cells aren’t getting enough glucose from the insulin. That leads to many complications, from general fatigue to a depressed immune system.

And the worst of those complications… inflammation. Type 2 diabetes causes inflammation when the body can’t process glucose correctly.

What’s more, inflammation also comes from a poor diet, inactivity, and the buildup of fat cells. Inflammation triggers the release of inflammatory signals called cytokines that also interfere with insulin, making you more insulin resistant. It’s a cycle.

We’re also concerned because of a new study that came out in February from the prestigious Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, one of the leading research centers for diabetes.

The study effectively blocked a few key insulin receptors in the brains of mice. These mice then showed significant issues with learning and memory.

This is crucial because we already know folks with diabetes have a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s. But now we can see there’s a possible mechanism of action at work here. Interfering with regular insulin levels in the brain could cause damage to our memory.

It doesn’t surprise me either. I’ve said for years that both diseases likely arise from an inflammatory response. Exploring this link between them makes sense… and provides yet another great reason to take control of your blood sugar before it’s too late.

I’ve written for years about simple ways to both combat type 2 diabetes and help prevent it. You need to include these in your regular lifestyle starting today. Here are my top three…

  • Exercise. One of our favorite ways is to go for a walk about 20 minutes after eating. 
  • Cutting out inflammatory foods (processed foods, trans fats, and artificial and real sugar). Yes, “diet” sugar replacements cause just as many problems. It’s best to avoid them altogether.
  • Losing weight. Excess fat triggers inflammatory chemical signals in our bodies. 

And in a recent issue of Retirement Millionaire, I also highlighted a simple food to add to your diet that shows promise in lowering blood sugar, as well as in fighting inflammation. To read the issue as a subscriber, click here. If you aren’t a subscriber, why not start today? Click here to learn more.

What We’re Reading…

Here’s to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
April 2, 2019