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Diabetes is a disease in which the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood stays too high, Hyperglycemia.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE DIABETES

Pre-diabetes is defined as having both fasting sugar (glucose) between 100 and 129, and hemoglobin A1C (glycosylated hemoglobin, sugar bound to hemoglobin inside the red blood cells) between 5.7 and 6.4. Diabetes is having both fasting glucose 130 or greater, and HGB A1C of 6.5 or greater.

The A1C test provides a two- to four-month average of blood sugar, since the lifespan of red blood cells is about four months I recommend that all adults over 40 and anyone of any age who is overweight to have these two tests done at least once each year.

STATS

World incidence of diabetes has quadrupled in just 36 years, from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2016. World population increased by 62% in the same period, so global per capita incidence has increased more than three times faster than population growth.

Diabetes, by any definition, is an epidemic in America. A ridiculous one-third of all Americans – that’s over 105 million people – are diabetic or pre-diabetic, which is high blood sugar short of the criteria for diabetes. Of those, about 30 million – almost 10% of the US population – are diabetic, and another 75 million – some 25% of the whole country – are pre-diabetic.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE BODY?

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 (T1D) is a pancreas problem. The hormonal part of the pancreas, specifically the beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans, in the endocrine tail of the pancreas, produce little or no insulin, allowing blood sugar to stay too high. Causes include vaccines, eating bleached flour, chlorine exposure, chronic low-level infections, environmental toxins, gluten.

Hormones are messengers or signals, that regulate every system and function in your body. Insulin is a critical hormone that lowers blood sugar when it gets too high. It does this by telling your cells to open up and take in the excess sugar, preventing organ failure or brain damage from high blood sugar. Insulin does the same for your body’s other fuel, which is fatty acids.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a liver problem. In this condition, the cells of the body, especially in the liver, muscles and fat, ignore the insulin message, leaving the sugar levels too high in the blood. This is called insulin resistance, insulin insensitivity, or insulin inefficiency. Having read some of the current research on aging, I can confidently state that you age according to how much insulin you produce. Here’s the flowchart: eating lots of sugar + refined foods + sedentary lifestyle → high insulin → insulin resistance → high blood sugar & triglycerides, chronic inflammation → diabetes, overweight & obesity, cardiovascular disease, dementia & Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, other chronic/degenerative disease, mitochondrial damage → cancer and autoimmune disease.

In blood work, other than fasting blood glucose and HGB A1C, I like fasting insulin, a key marker for insulin resistance. The optimal range is 1-5. Borderline high is 6-9, and insulin resistance begins at 10. Unfortunately, the lab reference range (these are usually of limited value) often has an upper limit of 26.

A 2005 article in Annals of Medicine, Vol. 37, states, “Both obese and lipodystrophic [disturbed fat metabolism] patients… have an increase in the amount of fat hidden in the liver... An increase in liver fat content has been shown to predict type 2 diabetes, independently of other cardiovascular risk factors…”.

An astounding 90 million Americans – that’s 28% of the whole US population, have a fatty liver, where fat fills up and injures the liver cells (hepatocytes), usually from excess sugar. The liver, in general, converts excess sugar into fat. Too much sugar, especially the ultra-nasty high fructose corn syrup, leads to a fatty liver and insulin resistance. This causes insulin levels to rise to compensate – higher levels are needed to do the job of controlling blood sugar. T2D accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes in the US.

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