Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to deal with rising blood sugar levels.  Type 1 diabetes starts in childhood, usually thought to be the result of a virus or nutritional factor that causes the immune system to attack the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.  Type 2 diabetes usually involves a fairly normal amount of insulin being produced, sometimes even more than normal.  But the body develops a resistance to insulin.  Leaving blood sugar levels too high.  80-90% of people who have this type are obese.  Chief complication of diabetes are said to be atherosclerosis, damaged blood vessels of the eyes, blood vessel damage to the kidneys, nerve damage from improper glucose uptake as well as inadequate blood supply, damaged nerves of autonomic nervous system, impaired white blood cell function and so on.

So how can atherosclerosis be the cause.  Maybe I am dense, but most of the symptoms of diabetes seems to be vascular impairment.   Maybe, just maybe, the atherosclerosis that is said to be a symptom of diabetes is actually the cause.  The virus or nutritional factor that is thought to be the cause of type 1 diabetes is true.  The combination of poor childhood nutrition combined with the formative immune systems (especially digestive tract irritations and vascular development) makes it almost certain that viruses can easily take hold.  The body’s response to a virus causes massive inflammation.  If the pancreas is damaged, it can easily shut down temporarily.  But the poor diet often persists throughout life, never letting the pancreas regain proper blood flow.  Think about it, when we are not feeling good, we go for the comfort foods(ice cream, milk and cookies, basically excess sugar, fat, and calcium), shutting things out also means shutting vital organs down.  If your kid is getting sick, give them lot’s of fluids,  protein, vegetables, not comfort foods.

Type 2 diabetes, the resistance of the cells to insulin, is almost certain as atherosclerosis takes hold.  The capillaries are where the cells get their nutrition.  If the 8000 miles of vascular system (composed primarily of capillaries) in your body aren’t open, the insulin can’t be used.  The larger arteries and arterioles of the body are the freeways of the blood transport system.  The freeways(arteries) take the trucks to the boulevards and avenues(arterioles).  You pull off a smaller, slower exit, into the driveway, and pull up to the factory to load and unload necessary substances.  Same for the vascular system, those small driveways are where things happen.  Sure if there is a crash on the freeway, the driveways can’t get filled, but both are important for the transportation system to work.  The same ideas come into play to get healthier and prevent diabetes.  Sugar and carbs are OK, but you need water to balance it, and drastically less than is typically consumed in 1st world countries.  Say you drink a soda, sure it is fluids, but it is typically around 20% concentration.  You actually need to drink a glass of water with that soda to keep the blood-fluid balance correct.  Compounding the blood fluid level problem, is the fact that any of the excess carbs you eat are turned into triglycerides, causing the buildup of fatty deposits on the arteries.  Excess sugar and carb intake causes the driveways to close(dehydration closing capillaries) and landslides covering the freeways(buildup of triglycerides on arteries and artioles).

Start some good long cardio exercise (90 minutes 3 times a week).  Exercise opens up the capillaries, and makes the factories (mitochondria of the cells) use up their stores of glucose (carbs).  This makes them open and receptive to any carbs they get.  They need some, but not huge amounts.   A 15 mile (at 6 minute mile pace) run will consume your bodies reserves of carbohydrates(about 1500 kcal worth).  Slower exercise starts to pull more energy from fat, but less calories per hour burned than more intense exercise.  Any exercise is beneficial, just increase the amount and intensity as you get stronger while eating less carbs, more magnesium, etc. We all have an athlete hidden in all of us, channel you inner Bruce Lee, Lance Armstrong, Prefontaine, whoever gets you motivated.  For me it is simply trying to keep up with Neil Pert’s drumming as I pedal along to work.

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