by Steven Carney on August 2, 2012

I’m sure you’ve heard of diabetes. You may wonder what it is and why it matters. Diabetes (I’m referring to the more common type 2, or adult-onset diabetes), normally has few symptoms, but is reflected in damaging levels of blood glucose/sugar. It is a serious hormonal and metabolic problem!

Blood glucose levels are often measured by testing fasting levels (after a 12 hour fast, such as overnight). A fasting level from 100-110 is considered high (or pre-diabetes), and a level above 125 is considered diabetes (healthy fasting levels are usually 70-90). Diabetes affects about 25 million in the US with pre-diabetes affecting about 40 million! These are indeed, widespread problems!

What causes it?

Type 2 diabetes results from the pancreas secreting too little insulin or because cells develop insulin resistance, making the insulin that is secreted less effective.

Aside from possible infections, type 2 diabetes is driven largely by lifestyle (you don’t catch it from someone else and genetics isn’t a certainty, that’s a myth)! A daily intake of candy, sodas, refined carbs, wheat-based foods, and other high-glycemic foods all tend to spike your blood sugar quickly. With that sudden rise the pancreas secretes insulin to bring the glucose levels down (high blood glucose can damage arteries and tissues, including the brain).

The excess glucose also turns up inflammation, something that contributes to other chronic health problems. Inactivity also contributes to the problem because activity helps to use up the excess glucose as fuel. Without enough daily activity, the sugar stays in the blood stream longer, becoming extra fat and weight.

Some Risk factors:

  • Age (over 40 but more young people are at risk and pre-diabetic).
  • High BP (see my previous post, damages arteries and organs)
  • High triglycerides (over 150 but even 130 is too high)
  • A high sugar/refined carb intake (spikes blood sugar, drives inflammation)
  • High fat intake (fried foods, trans fats, processed meats, all drive inflammation)
  • Excess weight (especially abdominal fat, pro-inflammatory and insulin resistant)
  • Lack of activity (even brisk walking can help burn up excess blood glucose)
  • Systemic inflammation, common with daily junk/fast food/processed food intake
  • High stress levels (thought to increase belly fat)

Diabetes is driven by lifestyle

The above list demonstrates how bad the typical American diet is! Not only do many of the foods overwork the pancreas and insulin secretion all day, they raise chronic inflammation, a process that often attacks internal organs and tissues, including the pancreas.

Excess abdominal (or visceral) fat is especially problematic. It’s driven by the bad dietary/lifestyle habits listed. Fat in the abdomen is metabolically active, releasing inflammatory chemicals and raising insulin resistance (the inability of cells to use glucose).

In fact, our junk/refined foods intake, excess weight and inactivity are big drivers of a whole series of chronic health conditions, including high BP, heart disease, high cholesterol and triglycerides, atherosclerosis, and even cancer!

This is why making a few small improvements in your nutrition and activity can have a profound effect on your overall health, helping many chronic health conditions! As a health coach, I”m here to help you make the positive changes that can help you improve your health, your energy and your life!

Questions or comments? Drop me a line or comment and I’ll respond. And feel free to browse my other posts or contact me if you need any help with your health or life issues!

Helpful links:






A surprising new study that should give hope to those with type-1 diabetes, you probably do have active beta cells:


A new study shows that resveratrol can help with blood sugar control, especially for diabetics:


© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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