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Do you know what your chances are of developing Diabetes? Can you identify the leading risk factors? Do you have a clear idea of what Pre-Diabetes is?

Woman in red business suit.And are you aware that, even if you've been diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes, it doesn't automatically mean you are going to develop Type 2 Diabetes?

A recent survey conducted by the American Diabetes Association suggested that many Americans are either unaware or in total denial of their own risk factors for developing this deadly disease (1).

More than half of the respondents to the survey knew that obesity is a leading risk factor in developing Type 2 Diabetes and acknowledged that they were personally overweight. But they also maintained that they weren't at risk of developing the disease.

Irreversible Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of the disease. In the vast majority of cases, it can only be managed for the rest of a Diabetic's life and may require daily injections of insulin. Type 2 Diabetes, itself, is a significantly increased risk factor for blindness, heart and kidney disease and the need for amputation.

More than 20 million people in the United States alone suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. But most people who are vulnerable to the condition experience reversible Pre-Diabetes first, which occurs when blood sugar readings are elevated but not at a high enough level to trigger a diagnosis of full-blown Type 2 Diabetes.

The disorder known under the general term of Diabetes exists in various forms and first occurs when the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or the body's cells cannot correctly process the insulin that is produced. In the normal healthy cell, insulin allows food or glucose to pass through the surface so it can be converted into energy.

But a condition called Insulin Resistance prevents the efficient conversion of food into energy because it decreases the cell's sensitivity to insulin.

Decreased insulin sensitivity can cause glucose and insulin levels in the blood stream to become elevated. As a result, "free-floating" glucose is sent to the liver, converted to body fat and stored throughout the body, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Long-term effects can include damage to the heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes (2).

In addition, the imbalance of glucose and insulin leads to an increase in triglyceride levels, a rise in LDL "bad" cholesterol and a lowering of HDL "good" cholesterol, resulting in a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Various medical personel standing together in a group.The American Diabetes Association estimates that 41 million people in the United States currently suffer with Pre-Diabetes. There is a growing body of scientific research that suggests long-term damage to the cardiovascular system may be occurring among Pre-Diabetes sufferers (3).

It's important to understand the distinction between Diabetes and Insulin Resistance.

When you have Diabetes, the body either doesn't produce sufficient insulin or the body can't absorb the insulin that does get produced.

Insulin Resistance occurs when the body produces insulin but not in the finely balanced amount that the body needs. As a result, the cells can't absorb the correct amount of glucose (blood sugar), which remains in the blood stream.

The effects of Insulin Resistance are worsened by obesity in a fairly straightforward link between the two conditions. And the more Insulin Resistant you are, the more insulin your body manufactures as it tries to overcompensate for the inability to use insulin.

A vicious cycle has begun because the higher your insulin levels, the more you are likely to develop Pre-or Type 2 Diabetes and thereby increase your risk of a heart attack.

Are you at risk of developing Pre-Diabetes? You are if you're overweight and don't get enough exercise. And you are if you have a family history of Diabetes.

While there is no single test that can determine if you have Pre-Diabetes, your doctor can run a series of blood tests which will evaluate whether you have this condition.

Ask yourself how many of these risk factors you have for developing Pre-Diabetes:

  • Do you have a relative with either Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease?
  • Are you overweight or obese?
  • Are you 45 or older?
  • Do you have hypertension (high blood pressure)?
  • Do you belong to a high-risk ethnic group, which includes African-American, Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander?
  • Are you "apple-shaped" rather than "pear-shaped"? (Meaning excess weight gathers around your waist, rather than your hips.)
  • If you're a woman, did you develop Gestational Diabetes or have a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds at birth?

The more "yes" answers to those questions, the higher your risk. But just because you've been diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes, doesn't mean you're automatically going to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

The Diabetes Prevention Program study found that even modest changes in diet and exercise can prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes (4). Simply losing 5-7% of your body fat (typically 10-15 pounds) and increasing your physical activity by taking a brisk walk 4-5 times a week can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by almost 60%.

Obesity is an underlying factor in developing Pre-and Type 2 Diabetes and a growing body of evidence suggests Insulin Resistance is a root cause of obesity. So it follows that addressing Insulin Resistance would also address the issues of Pre- and Type 2 Diabetes.

Another factor may be inflammation, which is part of the body's defense system. To learn more, click on Inflammation, Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes.

Woman and Man walking with shopping bags in their hands.The rate of Diabetes has tripled in the past 30 years, fueled largely by the accompanying epidemic in obesity (5).

A 2002 study by the Diabetes epidemiology section at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that, if the trend continues, approximately 30% of the children born in 2000 will develop Diabetes in their lifetime.

Clearly, since Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputations and premature death, lowering your risk factors for developing this disease is not only highly desirable but life-transforming as well.

It has long been known that a rapid weight loss program, whether brought about by strenuous dieting or excessive exercise programs or drugs, will simply not work as a long-term solution. Almost invariably, people who lose weight under these regimes will eventually gain back everything they've lost, plus additional weight, thus compounding the problem rather than solving it.

A systematic approach is needed to address all the components of these disorders. Simply put, taking a pill every day won't begin to effect the changes that are necessary if you hope to correct these conditions.

Insulite Laboratories set out to include all of these components while providing support and outreach, which research has shown are the most effective methods for achieving lifestyle transitions.

The Insulite System uses nutraceuticals (disease-specific vitamins, minerals and herbs) that can effect substantial metabolic change. The Exercise and Nutritional plans are not only necessary components of the system but also realistic and easy-to-follow. The underlying theories are based on well-recognized and accepted science that reprograms neural networks and replaces old, sedentary habits with gradual and permanent lifestyle changes.

Great emphasis is also placed by the Insulite System on showing how people can stop being addicted to certain foods which make them put on weight.

Please, begin today to address these conditions. Your fitness matters. Put yourself back on the path to optimum well being.

(1) Survey conducted by the American Diabetes Association in August of 2003.

(2,3) American Diabetes Association, Type 2 Diabetes: Conditions, Treatments, Resources

(4) Diabetes Prevention Program study, 2001, study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, et al.

(5) National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases

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