When I was growing up, I experienced first hand what it was like to have someone close to me suffer with diabetes–my father. Sometimes he would ask me to give him his insulin shot. Over the years, I saw the complications of this terrible disease ravage his body–first with horrible rashes over his legs, retinal disease and blindness and then ultimately kidney failure taking his life at a relatively young age of 69. Experiencing human disease and suffering close up like this was a major factor in my deciding to go into medicine. I never wanted to have diabetes like my father. He developed it in his 30’s and suffered with it throughout the rest of his life. It was a fairly uncommon disease back then.
Fast forward 60 years and diabetes and it’s precursor, pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, have become major national health concerns. How did we get here as a society? What went wrong, or what are we doing wrong? All good questions and we are beginning to uncover some answers. Metabolic syndrome is a disorder characterized by midgut obesity, early insulin resistance as evidenced by elevated hemoglobin a1c levels and borderline elevations in fasting glucose. If left unchecked, this disorder will progress to full blown Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, which will require first oral control then insulin injections. If caught early enough, before the pancreatic beta cells are completely wiped out, metabolic syndrome and early diabetes may be checked and in some cases even reversed. How is this possible? It has a lot to do with changing our lifestyles, especially with avoiding insulin spikes in our blood that are responded to by increasing down-regulation of our insulin receptors, which in turn begin to require higher and higher levels of insulin to accomplish the same level of glucose control as before. Ultimately, pancreatic beta cells are wiped out due to excessive overstimulation by our standard American diet (SAD diet). That is the physiology as we understand it today.
Recently Jon McMahon and iThrive have put together a docu-series describing in layman’s terms the whole spectrum of weight loss, metabolic syndrome and diabetes–what works, what is really going on physiologically, and what we can do about it. I recommend you view this series as it may help you directly or give you the knowledge and resources needed to help someone close to you.
If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to avoid this disorder, or if you are concerned you already have metabolic syndrome or want to be checked for it, or learn how to treat it and perhaps reverse it before developing full-blown diabetes, schedule a comprehensive visit by selecting the tab below.