Type 2 Diabetes and the Easter Bunny
With your permission, I am going to take a few moments to be raw and real about diabetes. Probably way rawer with more swear words than I normally ever use, even when I’m talking about the importance of upper cervical care. And its because I have people in my own life affected by diabetes … and it's killing them so slowly that they don’t even know it yet.
How can a sweet, cute bunny be so bad? Sweetness and clever marketing. That's how! I know where the road that they are on ends, but they don’t. And they are getting some really bad advice about what they need to do about it. ("But what do I know? I'm just a doctor!?")
And it's not just them. The reason I’m going to talk about diabetes now - specifically Type 2 & Type 1.5 - is because its a potentially devastating problem for people as they enter into the first official family and sugar biggest of the year: Easter. It's easy to talk about “New Year’s Resolutions” in January. Its way less sexy in April considering that your resolution probably went to hell weeks ago! So considering that you’ve given up ’til next year, you might as well give in and just enjoy yourself for now.
I mean, you can always take a few extra tablets of Diabex and your blood pressure tablets through April to make up for it. Right? Only if you want to seriously screw yourself up, and it's because ...
Diabetes is NOT a Blood Sugar Problem
Before I get into the details, you may not know what the different types of diabetes are. Type 1 is where your pancreas does not produce insulin, and you require a regular shot. It is usually a neurological or genetic problem. Type 2 and Type 1.5 are very similar to each other.
Generally speaking, they are both caused by a crappy diet and exacerbated by poor lifestyle factors. The difference is that with Type 2 your pancreas still produces insulin. With Type 1.5, your pancreas is so exhausted from abuse that it stops producing insulin.
And now you need to take a regular shot like a Type 1 diabetic. Insulin is the hormone necessary for sugar molecules to enter into cells and be used for energy. By itself, this is not a bad thing. So yes, the problem starts when blood sugar levels are too high.
But as you're about to discover, that is only the beginning. One of the ways that I learned to think about Diabetes is “Crud in the blood.” Instead of having clean fluids running through your pipes (blood vessels), you have sewerage flowing through your body.
Yes, its a metaphor, but one that illustrates my point clearly. I'll get there in a moment, but first, we need to identify exactly what causes your blood sugar and insulin to rise so chronically that your pancreas ultimately throws in the towel? Dietary sugar. Duh! Not fat and not protein.
Its carbohydrates: specifically carbohydrates that cause an insulin spike (aka “high glycaemic index” or “high GI”). Imagine that you are doing a 60-minute walk. You walk for 3 minutes, and then you sprint as hard as you can for a full 2 minutes. How wrecked are you going to be at the end of 60 minutes?
It isn’t fun, I’ll tell you that! When you have all this excess insulin and sugar in your blood, your body goes into storage mode … which means that it converts it all to adipose tissue, aka fat cells. What your nervous system also does is shift your entire metabolism into an “aerobic state,” which means that it requires sugar and oxygen to produce energy.
That may sound good enough, like "aerobic exercise." Alas, aerobic exercise, and aerobic metabolism are not the same thing! One of the byproducts of continual aerobic metabolism is free radicals. Yessir, those charged particles that cause tissue damage and inflammation when they circulate freely throughout your body.
And unless you've been living on Pluto since the 1980s, you will likely have heard somewhere that free radicals and inflammation are linked with every nasty health condition you can think or: namely cancer and heart disease. Now, is one box of macaroni going to cause diabetes?
No. But hundreds of boxes over a few decades will. Even then, your body is smart. It has a backup mechanism to protect your cells against the potential damage of free radicals and inflammation. It is called cholesterol. #CrudintheBlood Yes, that so-called "heart killer" is actually produced by your body on purpose to protect your blood vessels from the damage that you are doing to your own body!
So cholesterol ends up lining all your blood vessels to protect you from all these free radicals that are floating around through there. “Crud in the blood!” But then guess what happens? Bingo! You end up developing high blood pressure, which is associated with heart disease, kidney disease, and strokes.
But is cholesterol the problem here? No! I'm not even going to get started on the ill effects of cholesterol-lowering medication here, but I hope you can see clearly here that it's not the cholesterol that's actually the problem. This is why I said in the beginning that diabetes is not just a matter of high blood sugar (or even a matter of high blood pressure). Its a serious health condition where your entire body is f*ed up from the inside out.
You think its hard managing Diabetes now? Just wait!
How fortunate for you that you can always take Diabex or a cocktail of cholesterol-lowering medications because changing your diet and lifestyle is too just hard. Here’s where I call bull$#!t. A small amount is okay, but when you add up little bits a huge number of times - including all the places you may not even realize its hiding - you may be shocked how much you consume in a single day!
Not to deny that changing your diet and lifestyle is hard. It's real f*ing hard! For anyone who’s had to do it, probably the hardest thing they’ve ever done in their life! But you know what’s even harder? Suffering the consequences because you didn’t do the work. And not just rare consequences, but HIGHLY PROBABLE consequences:
- Do you think you don’t have energy now? Your immune system gets so weak that you end up being sick all the time. And the rest of the time you can barely stay awake to actually do anything that you want anyway. What quality of life do you want 10 years from now?
- Do you think your body hurts now? Unless you get moving, your muscles and joints accumulate lactic acid which produces inflammation … and inflammation is the key ingredient to every painful and degenerative process known to mankind. only makes it harder to move 10 years from now (let alone 20, 30, or 40 years from now). How well do you want to be moving then?
- Do you think your body is toxic now? All those free radicals and inflammation I mentioned are the breeding ground for cancer and heart disease, which are the two most common causes of mortality (death) and morbidity (suffering but not dying) in the western world. Do you really believe that medicating will solve that problem for you? Which leads me directly into my last point.
- Do you think you don’t have the time now? Make it! What good is having all the time in the world if your body is so screwed up that you can’t do anything with it? What kind of relationship do you want to have with your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren?
I get it. Everyone is time-poor, including me. Especially if you have a demanding job or a young family, it's even harder than I can imagine! So what can I possibly advise that you can actually do now? There are no magic bullets here, but in the next article I'm going to lay out a series of steps that you can take to combat Type 2 or even Type 1.5 diabetes that is not going to make you any real extra time, and that may actually save you money in the process!