Have you been told by your doctor that your blood sugars were above average? Did that come to a surprise to you, and are you worried about having to go on a medication to prevent Diabetes?
If so, you are among the many people in our country who are now being diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes. This means that you cannot safely go on anymore without doing anything about it. Diabetes has become a real concern in our country, and indeed it is not a mild diagnosis. The disease itself may go unnoticed at first, or manifest just with signs of fatigue, but eventually it can cause irreversible complications and put you at high risk for infections and cardiovascular disease.
Until we started witnessing the rampant epidemic in Diabetes, a fasting blood sugar under 126 was acceptable. Now your doctor will diagnose you with Pre-Diabetes if your levels are100 and above, and likely will start you on a glucose lowering pill.
In Anti Aging Medicine, we work with optimal levels and we have known for years that blood sugars under 90 are more protective and can be reached without using drugs which eventually, if not immediately, lead to side effects.
The first intervention in treating our patients, is identifying the cause of the problem. It can be a long standing issue or just a transient state of unbalance. Rather than giving you a diagnosis, and a drug, the first thing we need to do is find out why you have high blood sugars. You may not be doing anything different than you were doing before, but suddenly you are told that your glucose blood levels have increased.
What does it mean to have high sugar levels in your blood?
When we eat carbs, and most foods do contain carbs, our digestive system processes them and sends the glucose (sugar) from the carbs into the bloodstream. The sugars circulating in the blood are then meant to be picked up by cells and used as energy for the body. However, when there are too many molecules of sugar, the cells become saturated and don’t work as efficiently anymore. So the sugar stays in the blood and travels to your organs where it can do some potential damage.
What causes this rise in Pre-Diabetes and what can you do about it?
Unless you have a disease that contributes to Diabetes, or you are taking medications that raise blood sugars, the 3 most likely causes are:
– Lack of exercise.
As simple as it sounds, you need to be educated about what foods are causing the problem, about what stress really is and how it affects your blood sugars, and about the kind of exercise you personally need.
Adopting the appropriate lifestyle can make a major difference in your health. The advantage of lifestyle modifications is that they can reverse disease, contrary to ingesting a pill which may only temporarily keep it under control.
Your first step is to eliminate the high carb containing foods.
I trust that, if you have elevated blood sugars, you already have “cut down your sweets”. You have stopped eating cookies and ice cream, and you are drinking your coffee without sugar. Although this is the place to start, this may not be enough.
When it come to foods that increase blood sugars, you probably know that anything that contains High Fructose Corn syrup needs to be avoided. You may also be reading the labels looking for hidden sugars in processed foods, which can be time consuming and overwhelming. Ideally you want to avoid processed foods as much as possible as they all contain toxic preservatives.
You also need to be aware that Gluten, the component of flour used to make bread and pasta, is playing a main role in the Diabetic epidemic.
You may have heard about an increase incidence of Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease as most Gluten produced in our country is now GMO, meaning that it is modified from its natural chemical structure to be mass produced.
The human body has been trained since the beginning of times to process natural food sources. We have evolved to tolerate some additives and artificial flavors to a certain extent, but we are not ready yet to receive engineered foods. Our cells don’t recognize those food molecules and don’t know what to do with them, especially when we ingest a lot of them. The result is a state of inflammation that is highly responsible for all sorts of unbalances in the body, including high blood sugars.
The question I often get is: “Doctor if I eliminate carbs, what can I eat then?”
There are so many alternatives to enjoy good nutrition that will make you healthy and happy. You just need to be educated on where to find the products and how to combine them in a tasty way. Amazingly you will eventually discover that the hamburger bun and the donut you had longed for doesn’t taste that good anymore…
The importance of Managing Stress.
When you are under stress, your adrenal glands secrete a hormone called Cortisol which directly rises blood sugars. This is one of the main reason why we make Cortisone treatments as short as possible, and we avoid it as much as possible in diabetic patients.
You may have been eating a low carb and gluten diet, but if you have been going through a stressful time in your life, your blood sugars may suddenly have gone up due to the excess of cortisol.
The way we approach this issue in Anti aging Medicine is by regenerating and balancing your adrenal glands to produce steady amounts of cortisol, and by using very effective stress reduction tools such as breath work.
There is an exercise routine that fits you.
Exercise doesn’t necessarily means lifting heavy weights at the gym every day or running a marathon every week. Although this may fit the lifestyle of some people, you may just want to go for a walk. How much exercise you need is very individual and depends on your own metabolism. Just changing a few habits, like going up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, can get your body to move more and help increase your metabolism.
Eating right, managing stress, and exercising will give you the long term results that will keep your blood sugars controlled.
While you are implementing these lifestyle changes, you need to make sure that your efforts are supported with the right supplementation for you. In Anti Aging medicine we use natural supplements to balance insulin release and help glucose being used efficiently by the cells.
We also look at your overall hormonal function and the medications you are taking, and make the appropriate adjustments so you can achieve full control of your health.