Diabetes and Exercise – Why the Connection is Vitally Important

Nearly twenty-one million Americans have diabetes. An estimated 6.2 million don’t know they have it because they aren’t diagnosed. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes patients have an average of 2.3 times higher medical expenses than those who are not. A second study, Population Health Management, estimates that diabetes costs the nation $218 billion annually in health care. However, most cases of diabetes can be prevented or reversed by exercising, weight loss and healthy living.

I find myself wondering. What if the 6.2 Million people who went undiagnosed with diabetes knew that they were diabetics? Or, the estimated 57,000,000 Americans with Pre-Diabetes were taught how to manage their health and avoid becoming Type 2 Diabetic.

Pre-Diabetic doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop Type 2 diabetes. You can reduce your weight and increase your activity levels, which can help prevent or delay diabetes. (See sidebar for diabetes terms defined)

This is an important point many people don’t understand: if you exercise and lose weight, you can prevent or delay developing diabetes.

Are you aware of the symptoms of diabetes? Have a look at the people around you. Are you seeing any signs of diabetes among your family members and friends? Sidebar: Common signs and symptoms of diabetes. It’s possible to see people around you who are already diabetic or will become diabetic. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans could develop diabetes during their lifetime. These statistics are alarming and can be prevented for most.

What about Type 2 diabetics who have been diagnosed? What if they were taught that diet and exercise could help them reduce or eliminate their diabetes medication? How would this help our health care crisis? We’d have to dispel many myths, magic answers, and limiting beliefs. I know that the pharmaceutical companies will not be pleased with me sharing this secret. Our health care system is in crisis, but it’s okay! Our Nation is sick! That’s it. Let’s now get to work on taking personal responsibility for our own health.

Many people are looking to learn more about diabetes and take control of their health.

o Is it a good idea to cut back on sugar? Are you concerned about your weight?
o You don’t need to be worried if you are thin.
Exercise and diet can really make a difference.
How can I lower my blood sugar?

There are also issues you may not be aware of.

Diabetes for longer than 5 years can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Regular exercise can increase insulin sensitivity, which can help reduce medication dosages

Let’s start with insulin. This is the main medication that keeps diabetics healthy. Then, you will be able to see the clear answers to your questions.

How does insulin work? Insulin is the main hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels in the bloodstream and into cells to be used for energy. How does exercise affect insulin hormone? Exercise can have an insulin-like impact on your body. Your muscles need constant sugar flow to contract and move while you exercise. Exercise speeds up the rate at which your muscle absorbs sugar from your bloodstream. This is similar to insulin, as it emptys the sugar into your muscles. This can lower your blood sugar. A twenty-minute walk per day can reduce glucose levels by twenty points.

This is an excellent example of insulin’s role in your body. For a moment, think of insulin as a bus. Glucose (sugar), is the driver. There are two types: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetics don’t produce insulin or have no bus. This is according to the Center for Disease Control and accounts for 5%-10% of all cases. Type 2 suffers from insulin resistance. This means that the bus is still there but isn’t picking up passengers. There are also fewer buses on the route. The Center for Disease Control estimates that Type 2 diabetes is responsible for between 90% and 95% of all cases.

Your muscles work harder and consume more fuel when you exercise. So your muscles send their own buses to collect sugar from the bloodstream and transport it back to your muscles. Insulin is replaced by the working muscles. Type 2 diabetics can also use their muscles to pick up passengers and show the buses (insulin).

Exercise has many benefits for diabetics. It improves glucose uptake in the cells, insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Insulin sensitivity is improved by reducing blood glucose levels. If combined with an intuitive diet, exercise can reduce medication dosages and help you lose or maintain your body weight. Sidebar: Safe Exercise Check List

Many myths are common about diabetes. These are some of the most common myths I hear about diabetes.

Myth #1: Diabetes can’t eat sugar, sweets or simple carbohydrates. The only reason they have diabetes are because they ate too many sugary foods. You can safely have occasional sweets and simple carbohydrates, provided you don’t overeat them.

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