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Lose Weight First to Fight Off Diabetes

Posted January. 30, 2005 22:45,   


Diabetes is a disease that is hard to cure. It is also a disease that breaks out due to wrong everyday habits, except for Type one diabetes that you develop when you are born with problems with your insulin secretory system.

For prevention, you are advised to do aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, running and bicycling more than three times a week. You should cut back on how much you eat simple sugars, like sugars that increase your blood sugar level once you have eaten it, or animal fat. The first thing you should do more than anything else is to quit smoking.

Here is something you should always keep in mind: not to gain weight.

When you’re overweight, you stand up to 12 times higher chances of developing diabetes-

It was almost 100 years ago when Dr. Elliot Joslin, the best diabetes specialist in America at that time, studied the correlation between diabetes and obesity in 1,000 people. The study showed that overweight people had six to 12 times more chances of developing diabetes than those who had a normal weight. Based on the result, he claimed, “Obesity poses a greater risk to diabetes than sex, heredity, or one’s social and economic position.”

Now, Type two diabetes is called “obese diabetes.” The International Diabetes Federation last year said, “You should fight off obesity in order to prevent diabetes.” The IDF said in its report, “You can prevent many of the complications of Type two diabetes by losing only five percent of your weight.”

Then how can obesity cause diabetes? Insulin normally breaks up blood sugar and provides nutrition for cells. Body fat hinders such functions of insulin. When it happens, the blood sugar level goes up, while cells remain hungry. When cells long for something to eat, your blood sugar level goes up and up. That is when you develop diabetes.

When you are urinating, drinking and eating too much, suspect early symptoms-

In most cases, about 60 percent of those with diabetes fail to notice their diseases. They see doctors only after they have complications, and are belatedly diagnosed with diabetes during treatment.

You are generally said to have early symptoms of diabetes when you urinate, drink and eat too much.

Other early symptoms also include extreme tiredness and a decrease in your weight. At various times, you may eat hurriedly as you feel hunger before meals. You may urinate much all of a sudden. You will have boils on your skin that do not go away easily. You may sometimes feel itchy. In the case of women, you may feel itchy in your genitals.

However, these early symptoms, in many cases, develop quite a long time after you start to develop diabetes. It is therefore important to have your blood sugar level checked regularly.

Have your blood sugar level checked every year after you reach 40-

Chances are that you will already have developed diabetes to a great extent when you can spot sugar in your urine. At least 180 mg of blood sugar is needed per dL of urine to be detected. Sugar is not detected in urine oftentimes until after it reaches the given level.

The Committee of the Korean Diabetes recommends that you, once you reach the age of 40, have your blood sugar level checked every year on a regular basis, even if you do not have specific risk factors. You should do it if you are fat, or have hypertension or hyperlipidemia. You are said to have a normal level of blood sugar when your number is less than 100 mg per dL when your stomach is empty, and less than 140 two hours after meals. When yours exceed these numbers, you should use caution first.

The recent trend is that the standard of diabetes is getting stricter. The Association on the Diagnosis and Classification of the Committee of the Korean Diabetes in November 2004 revised downward the bottom line of the blood sugar level of diabetes patients from more than 126 to 110.

(Reference =Oh Yeon-sang professor of Endocrinology Dept. at Chung-Ang University Medical Center, Kim Gwang-won professor of Endocrinology Dept. at Samsung Medical Center, Ahn Cheol-woo professor of Endocrinology Dept. at Yongdong Severance Hospital)

Sang Hoon Kim TK Sohn corekim@donga.com sohn@donga.com