Sugar Diabetes – The Seventh Leading Cause of Death in the USA

Although sugar diabetes is treatable, diabetes and diabetes related complications are a killer. It is known as the silent killer because symptoms if any gradually develop. This article reviews diabetes information on why sugar diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the USA and what diabetics can do to prevent themselves from becoming a statistic.

Diabetes is America affects approximately 18 million people with estimated deaths of 80,000 a year which makes it the seventh leading cause of death. Of the 18 million people, almost half are not aware of their status because symptoms gradually develop and are not a one time occurrence.

With bad eating habits and a lack of exercise, diabetics are being diagnosed at skyrocketing rates. It is the leading cause of blindness in adults, the most common cause of kidney disease and failure that requires dialysis or kidney transplant. It is also the leading cause of limb amputation due to nerve damage.

Diabetes and diabetes related complications and the treatment costs are more than the treatment costs for heart disease, cancer and AIDS. Diabetes complications also include heart disease.

To prevent becoming a statistic and lead a normal and fulfilling life, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, monitor the blood sugar levels, maintain physical activity and use appropriate medication if necessary.

What is Diabetes and how glucose metabolism works

When the body is functioning normally, carbohydrates (from sugars or starches consumed), are converted into glucose (simple sugars) in the intestines. The glucose is then circulated in the blood into the various cells in the body where they produce the energy required by the body to properly function.

Insulin which is a hormone made in the pancreas and released in the blood stream enables the various organs to take the sugar and use it for energy. If the body does not produce any insulin or does not use the insulin produced, glucose remains in the blood and accumulates causing high blood sugar while the cells are starved leading to diabetes complications.

Three Types of Diabetes

1. Type 1 Diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes (insulin dependent)

This affects individuals that are usually under 35 years of age. It commonly starts in childhood. If you watched the last season of Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice”, you may remember the winner, Brett Michaels discussing his diabetes and the daily injections he takes. His daughter was also diagnosed with the disease.

With Type 1 diabetes, the insulin secreting cells in the pancreas are destroyed leading to the zero production of insulin by the body. The diabetic then requires daily injections of insulin in order to live.

The insulin injection is administered under the skin for type 1 diabetics. It can not be orally administered because absorption from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood stream is not possible. It is only possible to be absorbed into the blood stream when the insulin is administered through the skin.

When type 1 diabetes is not handled proactively and left untreated, ketoacidosis which is a life threatening condition leading to a diabetic coma and/or death may develop.

2. Type 2 Diabetes (non-insulin dependent)

This is the most common form of diabetes and is usually linked to obesity and a lack of exercise. It develops in individuals over the age of 40 as well if there is a family history of this disease.

Diabetes 2 results from the body not producing enough insulin or not efficiently using or ignoring the insulin produced. Most of Type 1 diabetics develop diabetes symptoms which may not be present for type 2 diabetics. Sufferers of type 2 diabetes may be unaware that they have the disease until complications develop.

The causes of diabetes, specifically Type 2 is usually linked to obesity and inactivity, and it can be cured or managed effectively by following a proper diabetes 2 diet and adding physical activity. If diet and exercise do not control the disease, some oral medications may be prescribed by doctors. Type 2 diabetics in few cases may inject insulin under the skin.

3. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes usually affects some pregnant women during the second or third trimester. It usually resolves itself one or two months after birth. Sometimes a gestational diabetes diet may be recommended to cure this disease. In some cases, women who suffered from gestational diabetes during a pregnancy will develop diabetes 2 later on.

Evidence shows that the better the patient controls his or her blood sugar levels by means of exercise, following a diabetic diet (and investing in a diabetic cookbook), insulin injections, blood sugar monitoring devises, diabetic shoes, etc, the greater the chances that serious complications can be avoided or reduced.

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Diabetes: African Americans Deadly Foe

Diabetes is having a devastating effect on the African American community. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in African Americans and their death rates are twenty seven percent higher than whites.

Over 2.8 million African Americans have diabetes and one third of them don’t know they have the disease. In addition, twenty five percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 – 74 have diabetes and one in four African American women, over the age of 55, have been diagnosed with the disease

The cause of diabetes is a mystery, but researchers believe that both genetics and environmental factors play roles in who will develop the disease.


Researchers believe that African Americans and African Immigrants are predisposed to developing diabetes. Research suggests that African Americans and recent African immigrants have inherited a “thrifty gene” from their African ancestors.

This gene may have enabled Africans to use food energy more efficiently during cycles of feast and famine. Now, with fewer cycles of feast and famine, this gene may make weight control more difficult for African Americans and African Immigrants.

This genetic predisposition, coupled with impaired glucose tolerance, is often associated with the genetic tendency toward high blood pressure. People with impaired glucose tolerance have higher than normal blood glucose levels and are at a higher risk for developing diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes, commonly know as “sugar diabetes”, is a condition that occurs when the body is unable to properly produce or use insulin. Insulin is needed by the body to process sugar, starches and other foods into energy. Diabetes is a chronic condition for which there is no known cure; diabetes is a serious disease and should not be ignored.

Diabetics often suffer from low glucose levels (sugar) in their blood. Low blood sugar levels can make you disorientated, dizzy, sweaty, hungry, have headaches, have sudden mood swings, have difficulty paying attention, or have tingling sensations around the mouth.

Types of Diabetes

Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type II diabetes. Pre-diabetes can cause damage to the heart and circulatory system, but pre-diabetes can often be controlled by controlling blood glucose levels. By controlling pre-diabetes you can often prevent or delay the onset of Type II diabetes.

Type I or juvenile-onset diabetes usually strikes people under the age of 20, but can strike at any age. Five to ten percent of African Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes are diagnosed with this type of the disease. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body produces little or no insulin and this type of diabetes must be treated with daily insulin injections.

Type II or adult onset diabetes is responsible for ninety to ninety-five percent of diagnosed diabetes cases in African Americans. Type II results from a condition where the body fails to properly use insulin. According to the American Diabetes Association, “Type II is usually found in people over 45, who have diabetes in their family, who are overweight, who don’t exercise and who have cholesterol problems.” In the early stages it can often be controlled with lifestyle changes, but in the later stages diabetic pills or insulin injections are often needed.

Pregnancy related diabetes or gestational diabetes can occur in pregnant women. Gestational diabetes is often associated with high glucose blood levels or hyperglycemia. Gestational diabetes affects about four percent of all pregnant women. The disease usually goes away after delivery, but women who suffer from gestational diabetes are at a higher risk for developing diabetes later in life.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The most common symptoms of diabetes include:

excessive urination including frequent trips to the bathroom

increased thirst

increased appetite

blurred vision

unusual weight loss

increased fatigue


Complications from Diabetes

Diabetes can lead to many disabling and life threatening complications. Strokes, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputations are common complications that effect African Americans who have diabetes

Kidney Disease

“Diabetes is the second leading cause of end stage kidney disease in African Americans, accounting for about thirty percent of the new cases each year,” says the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. Up to twenty-one percent of people who develop diabetes will develop kidney disease.


Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in the United States. More than sixty percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in America occur among people with diabetes and African Americans are almost three times more likely to have a lower limb amputated due to diabetes than whites. According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 82,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed among people with diabetes in 2001.


African Americans are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes related blindness. Diabetics can develop a condition called “Diabetic Retinopathy”, a disease affecting the blood vessels of the eye, which can lead to impaired vision and blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people from 20 – 74 years of age and up to 24,000 people loose their sight each year because of diabetes.

Heart Disease

People with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop heart disease as people who don’t have diabetes. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is more common in diabetics and can lead to increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and poor circulation throughout the body.

Diabetes Risk Factors

You have a greater risk for developing diabetes if you have any of the following:


Family history of diabetes


Low physical activity

Age greater than 45 years

High blood pressure

High blood levels of triglycerides

HDL cholesterol of less than 35

Previous diabetes during pregnancy or baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Diabetes has had a devastating effect on the African American community; it is the fifth leading cause of death and second leading cause of end stage kidney disease in African Americans.

African Americans suffer from complications from diabetes at a much higher rate than the rest of the population. African Americans are three times more likely to have a lower limb amputated because of diabetes and twice as likely to suffer from diabetes related blindness.

If you have any of the diabetes risk factors you should contact your physician and have a blood glucose test. Also discuss with your physician lifestyle changes you can take to lower your chances of developing diabetes.

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This is Diabetes – A Disease Growing Fast to Epidemic Proportions

A summary and some stunning statistics
I am a diabetic, a person who suffers from the disease called diabetes, a disease that is growing at a fast rate in North America where in the United States and Canada there are now more that 25 million people diagnosed as being diabetic and where another 6 million are estimated to have the disease and do not yet know it, probably because they have not visited a doctor of late. And it gets worse, the forecast by health authorities is that one in three children born from this moment on will end up with diabetes. And a stunning number of 57 million people have the condition called pre-diabetes, referred to in the text below. And a major problem linked to diabetes is the similarly growing incidence of obesity.

So what is diabetes?
There are three main types of diabetes and a few others less common. There is also a condition referred to as pre-diabetes – and that is a something to be watched for because, as its name suggests, it can lead to the real thing, not a happy prospect for anyone.

No cure
It is generally accepted by the medical profession that there is no cure for diabetes and the condition must be contained and controlled within a specific tolerable range by the adoption of appropriate lifestyle changes. Those include more healthy dietary approaches that are even better if accompanied by exercise and perhaps weight loss and possibly medication to assist in controlling the levels of glucose that enter the bloodstream after eating.

But some say it IS curable
However, having said that there is no cure, I must add that there are a number of quite renowned and successful medical practitioners who insist that by adopting certain dietary approaches the disease can be brought under control until it does not manifest itself and the diabetes will, in effect, not exist for the individual who follows and adheres to that approach. The gestational form of diabetes, mentioned below and not very common, is a temporary diabetic condition suffered by a small percentage of pregnant women.

The three main types of diabetes are known as type-1 diabetes, type-2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, of which type-2 is by far the most common, making up about 90 to 95 percent of all cases.

In the past, but less so nowadays, type-1 and type-2 were referred to respectively by the more descriptive names of juvenile diabetes and adult-onset diabetes.

Type-1 Diabetes
Sadly, type-1 diabetes is most often a disease that develops in childhood or in young adults, although it sometimes strikes adults. It is called an autoimmune disease that occurs when the individual’s immune system fails to function properly. The immune system is the collection of biological processes in the human body that normally protects us all against disease. But instead, in the case of type-1 diabetes, the immune system actually destroys cells in an organ of the body, called the pancreas, which make insulin. The result is that from that time on, the type-1 person must take insulin each day to stay alive.

Insulin and glucose
Without insulin, the glucose produced from the food we eat and that is needed to provide energy for all the body’s cells cannot be delivered into those cells and when that happens, life cannot survive for long. Without a source of insulin, a type-1 diabetic can fall into a life-threatening coma. A parent of a diabetic child lives with that constant fear and concern that such an event might occur.

Type-2 diabetes
The most common form of diabetes, is a condition in which an above normal level of glucose exists in the blood. That can occur for more than just one reason but most likely due either to insufficient insulin being produced by the body or resistance by the cells of the body to the insulin that is being produced. And it may be a combination of both of those factors.

The role of insulin
Insulin is needed to join with the glucose in the bloodstream and aid in the delivery of the glucose to the trillions of cells in the body where it is needed. It is the insulin’s ability to interact with the receptors that exist on the outer membrane of the cells, in a way acting like a mediator, that enable the process to take place to completion.

To illustrate, in the process, the insulin acts like a key that opens a door to a cell allowing the glucose to enter into the cell. Without that key, without insulin, the glucose cannot be absorbed. And that would lead to a dangerous life threatening situation if not remedied promptly.

Gestational diabetes
Is a usually temporary form of the disease developed by some women, usually late in their pregnancy, who may not even be aware of it because no symptoms are exhibited. It is not common, occurring in perhaps about 5 percent or more of pregnancies but one unfavorable outlook for the mother is that there is a 40 to 60 percent chance of them later becoming full type-2 diabetics by about 5 to 10 years later.

What is pre-diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there are 57 million people in the United States who have pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels but levels not high enough for a confirmed diagnosis of diabetes. In pre-diabetes there is an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes, and research indicates that damage to the body does occur especially in the cardiovascular system, meaning both the heart and the circulatory system, and that can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Important research relating to pre-diabetes
An important clinical research study called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) showed that type-2 diabetes is preventable by adopting lifestyle changes that includes improved eating habits, adding or increasing physically active, and weight management. The weight target is to get down to a body mass index of 25 or less and to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a chart of human body weights related to height and is used by doctors to aid in determining the degree of variance, if any, of a patient’s particular readings with known acceptable index values.

Diabetes is not contagious, it is not a disease that others can catch but in some cases it may have a heredity genetic component so that more than one member of the family may develop the disease. But the cause is really unknown although certain factors are known to increase the possibility of developing diabetes.

Type-2 diabetes is especially associated with obesity and is considered to be a lifestyle disease of the developed western world associated with our generally more sedentary life. The incidence of diabetes is increasing as we, as a population, consume more readily available foods that are rich in fats and contain more calories than we need to sustain our levels of energy output.

Incidence of diabetes
According to data from the Multinational Project for Childhood Diabetes by the World Health Organization, type 1 diabetes occurs equally among males and females but is more common in whites than in non-whites

Type-1 diabetes is uncommon in most African, American Indian, and Asian populations while some countries of northern Europe, including Finland and Sweden, have high rates of type 1 diabetes. The reasons for these differences are unknown. As mentioned above, type-1 diabetes develops most often in children but can occur at any age.

Type-2 diabetes is more common in older people, and overweight people and occurs more frequently in African Americans, indigenous native Americans, and some Americans of Asian origin, Hawaiians and other Americans of the Pacific Islands. Also it is more common among Latin Americans, a segment of the population that is growing faster than the rest.

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Diabetes Continuing Education – Vital in Management of the Disease

Dealing with diabetes is a lifelong commitment that involves major changes in one’s lifestyle. The knowledge about this disease is pretty much incomplete, new things come up rather so quickly in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. It is therefore highly important for a diabetic or people who live with diabetics to undergo diabetes continuing education to be informed and be aware of the dynamics of this serious illness.

Thanks to the worldwide campaign regarding diabetes, awareness of the disease has increased immensely over the past few years. Unfortunately, there is still no established cure for diabetes. What people who are afflicted with the condition can do, however, is to manage the disease especially with the great advancements that have been witnessed with the care and treatment of diabetics.

Management of diabetes primarily involves learning how to cope with this disease in daily life not only for the sufferer but for people close to him or her as well. It is a continuing task that greatly affects a lifetime. Therefore diabetics and their families are in great need of being up to date with the latest information.

Where to Get Diabetes Continuing Education

People now are gaining better and better access to information from many sources. However, the most important source of diabetes continuing education is the diabetic’s doctor. Normally a diabetes specialist is someone who is certified by the board in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Such specialists are the foremost sources of information about diabetes as they have been trained to zero in on the disease. The diabetes specialist would provide the essential general instructions on how to manage the disease.

Apart from managing the disease itself, a diabetic should also know how to manage specific conditions that may develop because of and together with diabetes.

There are various professionals who can provide specific education – these may include general practitioners, internists, allopathic physicians, certified nurses, geriatric medicine specialists, vascular surgeons, urologists, transplant surgeons, nutritionists or registered dietitians, prosthetists, preventive medicine specialists, podiatrists, pediatricians, osteopathic physicians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, and nursing practitioners.

These professionals may address specific concerns about diabetes, which may be essential for the success of the diabetes continuing education.

What Should Diabetes Continuing Education Cover

The primary concern of diabetic patients is managing blood glucose levels. This concerns the patient’s medication, diet, lifestyle, weight maintenance, and physical activity. A good diabetes information program should cover these aspects of diabetes management.

Diabetes management is something that is not easily done without the help of medication. Depending on the severity of the illness, a patient might need to take some pills or even some regular insulin shots to normalize their glucose levels. Proper diabetes education should lead patients into the right medical care and at the same time, steer them away from medications that may cause more harm than good.

Learning About Diets

Medication alone will not manage diabetes well, changes in diet would have to be made. Some people might cringe at the sound of diet, but it may actually be easier than most people think. As most people know, the diabetic’s diet would entail the reduction of intake of sugary items. But apart from restrictions, it also involves the introduction of healthy foods such as vegetables, non-sugary fruits, lean meats and whole grains. These are important parts of diabetes continuing education.

Lifestyle Changes

Apart from medication and diet, the diabetic patient should also make some modifications with lifestyle. Diabetes can greatly affect one’s daily life and it is important to know how to cope with daily living with the disease at hand. Diabetics are known to have unpredictable energy levels and this can greatly affect the their work, physical endurance, abilities, and sexual performance. A good diabetes continuing education should instruct the patient how to deal with different life situations knowing that the disease might have some effect on them.

Physical Exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity are also important in managing diabetes. Obesity has been seen to be strongly linked to diabetes and related conditions and it important for a diabetic to maintain normal weight. Physical activity is essential for maintaining healthy weight and also for regulating blood sugar. A diabetes information program should help patients understand these important matters and how to bring them about.

Diabetes continuing education is necessary for diabetics to be able to cope up with life despite their disease. Fortunately, good education can now be obtained through various channels. It is only up to the diabetic patient to take advantage of these channels to know the important matters regarding this disease.

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Free Health Information: Ask the Medical Student and Receive Professional Information

Obtaining health advice that is worthy is hard to come by. As a medical student, I am surrounded by mountains of resources, professionals and experiences from which you can benefit. I cannot diagnose, treat or prescribe but I can give health information which can help you with your situation. All information that you give in the email is purely confidential and will be deleted upon receipt. No information will be published anywhere.

Why do we do provide a free health information service? Simply put — because we care. I will have my doctorate in naturopathic medicine two years from now. I already have 3 years of intense medical training under my belt and that is after a B.Sc in Cell and Molecular Biology. I know that most people are completely bewildered with the health industry and are looking for ways to obtain health without spending a fortune and without the standard mechanistic medical protocol. Complementary and Alternative medicine is flourishing and it is due to results patients receive. Holistic medicine heals and restores health to numerous chronic health conditions that traditional medicine cannot touch.

Our medical philosophy: Remove the cause of illness, treat the underlying issue and support the individual’s mind and body. This is how medicine should be practiced. Treating the symptoms only encourages the illness to penetrate deeper and cause further harm.

Some example health topics:

* Asthma

* Acne and other Skin Complaints

* Diabetes Type I and II

* Cardiovascular health

* Attention Deficit Disorder

* Losing Weight

* Depression

* Irritable Bowel Syndrome

* Diets

* Alternatives to Gall Bladder Removal

* Cell salts – which one?

* What should I eat?

* Digestive problems

* Chlorine issues

* Food allergies and sensitivities

This list is no way complete. Please write with any health question you have. All questions and responses are held strictly confidential to protect your privacy. I will respond with relevant health information, useful books, thoughts, product options and links. All health information given will contain references. If we do not know the answer, we will either refer you to a website or another useful source. I am not a substitute for a qualified physician.

For a sampling of my writing, you may view a number of my articles published here.

Take charge of your health. Education and being informed is the best way.

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