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Beating Diabetes: The Nature of the Beast

In honor of American Diabetes Month, this month’s blog posts will focus on Diabetes Mellitus. W.I.T.S. welcomes guest blogger Michelle Matte.

From Awareness to Understanding

Most of us are aware of diabetes as a common disease found in adults and children, and many of us know of a friend, co-worker or family member who has been diagnosed with the condition. Yet the cause of diabetes is rarely understood by the average individual. In November’s series of blogposts, we will attempt to break it down for you in terms you can grasp, in hopes of empowering you to help yourself and others combat this growing metabolic disorder.

Diabetes graphic text

Diabetes Discovered

Diabetes Mellitus, the proper name for what we commonly refer to as diabetes, is defined by an unhealthy amount of circulating blood sugar that can lead to a plethora of undesirable degenerative symptoms, culminating in kidney failure. Symptoms of DM were first described 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, and the word “diabetes” was first used to describe the condition by Araetus of Cappodocia, who lived from 81-133 AD. It was not until 1675 that British physician Thomas Willis added the word mellitus, meaning “honey sweet”, when he discovered that the blood and urine of patients exhibiting the condition had a sweet flavor. (Kudos to Willis for doing the taste test!) Willis also noted a high incidence of depression in diabetes patients. One hundred years later, in 1776, Matthew Dobson, another British physician, confirmed that the blood and urine of diabetes sufferers did in fact contain elevated levels of sugar, explaining their sweetness.

Diabetes Basics

Diabetes Mellitus manifests itself under two distinct sets of circumstances, leading to the categorical distinction between Type I DM and Type II DM.

Type I diabetes is a congenital condition under which the pancreas either underproduces or fails to produce insulin sufficient to aid in the transport of glucose to the body’s cells, where it can be used for energy. Put simply, glucose is the end product of carbohydrate foods. You can think of insulin as the key that unlocks the door to the cells, allowing glucose to enter. Type I diabetics do not produce sufficient insulin to facilitate the process of glucose metabolism. Type I diabetics must inject insulin on a regular basis to help in that process.

Diabetes finger stick

Type II diabetes is a chronic condition that escalates over time. At one time referred to as “Adult Onset Diabetes”, Type II rarely manifested in children and younger adults, and was considered to be an age-related disorder. Today, Type II diabetes is seen with alarming frequency in children and young adults. Simply explained, Type II diabetes manifests when carbohydrates are consumed in amounts that exceed the cell’s requirements. When large doses of sugar are consumed, the brain sends a message to the pancreas to produce more insulin to transport glucose to the cells. However, the capacity of the cells to store glucose is limited. If the cells are already full to capacity, insulin cannot do its job. Over time, the cells become insulin resistant, and sugar remains in the circulatory system until it can be eliminated via the kidneys.

 

Insulin resistance is directly linked to physical inactivity and excess carbohydrate consumption. Continually over-consuming sugary processed foods and drinks is the catalyst for insulin resistance. Physical activity depletes cellular glucose stores, making room in the cells to store more, thus reducing insulin resistance.

Diabetes Digits

In 1997, an estimated 4.5 percent of the population in the United States had diabetes. By 2012, that number had escalated to 9.3 percent, affecting over 29 million Americans. It should not surprise you that these figures correlate with a rise in obesity over the same time period. That is because diabetes and obesity share common roots in their onset. Both are linked to sedentary lifestyle and imbalanced nutrition.

More to Come

We will delve deeper into understanding diabetes throughout the month of November. Topics will include Managing Type I Diabetes During Exercise, Reversing Insulin Resistance, Diabetes Programming Tips for Fitness Professionals, and more. We hope you will join us in fighting diabetes through education and behavioral wellness.

References

 

Stang J, Story M (eds) Guidelines for Adolescent Nutrition Services (2005).

http://www.epi.umn.edu/let/pubs/adol_book.shtm

 

American Diabetes Association: Statistics About Diabetes.

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Maps in Trends in Diagnosed Diabetes and Obesity.

http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/slides/maps_diabetesobesity_trends.pdf

 

Saudi Medical Journal, April 2002: History of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11953758

 

American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Basics.

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/

 

Cleveland Clinic: Diabetes Basics.

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Diabetes_Basics

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Personal Training and Clients with Diabetes

We are in the middle of Diabetes Month and I thought I’d continue with the theme and reach out to you for input. Many of you responded to the last post about Diabetes and suggested that you work with clients who struggle with this disease. I hope you’ll share your expertise with us so we can better support our students and new professionals.

The following case study is based on a real client and comes from our Exercise Program Design for Special Populations online course. How would you respond to this scenario?

Jane is 50 years old and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 5 years ago. Jane is 5’2” and weighs 180 lbs. She is currently taking an oral medication (troglitazone) for her diabetes and an antihypertensive medication (beta blocker) for her stage 1 high blood pressure, and does not monitor her blood glucose. Jane reports that her health is OK. She does not suffer from complications, but gets easily fatigued doing housework and cleaning. Furthermore, she reports that taking a stroll with her husband at the local mall makes her knees and hips uncomfortable after about 15 to 25 minutes. She has not seen her doctor in over a year; however, her diabetes educator has encouraged her to participate in regular physical activity. She has asked you to assist in the development of an activity regime. Her goals are to improve her endurance and lose about 45 lbs.

We will gather your responses to share with our students. Help us help our students! I look forward to hearing from you!

 

If you want to learn more about exercise program design for individuals with diabetes, please check out our online course, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations. We have a section completely dedicated to Diabetes. Also, our Personal Trainer Certification and Older Adult Exercise Specialist Certification touch on the importance of safe and effective exercise to prevent and slow down this disease.

For more information about Diabetes and American Diabetes Month, please visit http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/?loc=GlobalNavDB

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November is American Diabetes Month!

Yesterday was Halloween, and although I don’t want to be a “party pooper” and understand how much fun the holiday can be— I have to say, seeing so many children walking around with bags of candy—who also appear to be moderately or morbidly obese was disheartening. Ironically, today, the day after Halloween, starts the beginning of American Diabetes Month. So, I’d like to focus today’s blog on diabetes, and more importantly, how we can prevent or slow down the disease with physical activity.

Diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed by properly managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating healthy, being physically active and quitting smoking also can help lower the risk of diabetes complications.

Prevalence

  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.

The Toll on Health

  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.

How Can Physical Activity Help?

  • Keep blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides on target
  • Lowers risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke
  • Relieves stress, strengthens your heart, muscles and bones
  • Improves your blood circulation and tones your muscles
  • Keeps your body and your joints flexible

I’m curious to know how many of our Personal Trainers are working with clients who have diabetes or prediabetes? Please share your experiences and success stories so we can all learn from you. I think we all have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce the prevalence of this serious disease. Please share!

If you want to learn more about exercise program design for individuals with diabetes, please check out our online course, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations. We have a section completely dedicated to Diabetes. Also, our Personal Trainer Certification and Older Adult Exercise Specialist Certification touch on the importance of safe and effective exercise to prevent and slow down this disease.

For more information about Diabetes and American Diabetes Month, please visit http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/?loc=GlobalNavDB