Diabetes Warning Signs

By Hans Diehl, M.D. www.chiphealth.com

What Are The Warning Signs of Diabetes?

The classical symptoms are polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyphagia (excessive appetite), and polyuria (excessive passage of urine). Early in the disease, however, few symptoms show up—perhaps some increase in urinary frequency and thirst. Of the 21 million diabetics in America with fasting blood sugar levels above 125 mg% (7.0mmol/L), it is estimated that 9 million don't know that they have it. Another 20 million—usually those overweight—are in a pre-diabetic category with blood sugar levels between 110 and 125 mg% (6.1 AND 6.9mmol/L). As the disease progresses, its effects are devastating, affecting all organs of the body and gradually destroying them. Consider the risks of unrecognized or poorly controlled diabetes:

  1. Eight out of ten diabetics develop eye problems. Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness in developed countries.
  2. Diabetics are 18 times more likely to experience serious kidney damage than are non-diabetics. Some 35 percent of kidney dialysis patients are diabetics.
  3. Diabetes is a potent promoter of atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries). The result is that diabetes more than doubles the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It can also lead to sexual impotence, hearing impairment, intermittent claudication (disabling leg cramps) and gangrene (half of all foot and leg amputations in adults are from this cause).

What Causes Adult-Onset Diabetes?

Studies demonstrate a strong relationship to fat--both fat in the diet and fat on the body. The disease is rare in areas of the world where fat intake is low and obesity uncommon.

Normally insulin, a pancreatic hormone, enables body cells to use glucose and controls blood sugar levels. But most of the time the problem in adult-onset diabetes is not a defective pancreas unable to produce sufficient insulin, but a lack of sensitivity to insulin. This resistance of the cells to insulin appears to relate directly to obesity and to excess fat in the diet and possibly in the liver.

But Isn't Sugar The Culprit?

James Anderson, M.D., professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a widely respected authority on diabetes, evaluated the effect of diet on blood sugar levels. Just as others had done before him, Dr. Anderson was able to turn lean healthy young men into mild diabetics in less than two weeks by feeding them a rich 65 percent fat diet. A similar group, fed a lean 10 percent fat diet plus one pound of sugar a day, did not produce even one diabetic after 11 weeks when the experiment was terminated.

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