Friday, June 16, 2017

How I fight early diabetes to stay happy and healthy - and hope to live long.

Whenever I see a child glued to the TV or computer for hours and hours everyday, subsisting on junk food and sugared water, and has grown overweight, I say to myself, "Here's a future diabetic."
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

Are you diabetic or prone to this worldwide disease?

I am at the borderline. My blood sugar is closely monitored, and I myself is the best monitor, because I could feel the signs and symptoms, then trace what I ate and did the past several days. Then I would take less sugar, eat less rice, and avoid meat, dairy and spicy food as much as possible. But the most effective way to keep my blood sugar on a safe level is regular exercise. 

 Not jogging though. Not biking anymore. Walking a distance would suffice. So instead of driving the car or taking the tricycle I walk two to three blocks to visit my barber or dentist or friend, attend meetings in the barangay, stroll in a garden, buy feeds for my pets.

Speaking of pets, I walk my dog, a Siberian-Labrador, every morning, sometimes in going to the bakeshop. It's not an easy walk with a working dog, what with hot pandesal it anticipates as a prize, thus stirring a cacophony of sounds on reaching home. A squeaky parrot leads the parakeets, an askal howls like wild, a gander complains, our garden ponds come alive with five-year old catfish and pako fish splashing in the morning sun. It's feeding time, another hour to fill my leisure. Everything settles to peace and quiet.

When you are calm in the morning, it is likely that you spend the whole day with calmness too, ready to absorb whatever shock in life that comes around without taking the pill. And when the same calmness returns with relaxing shows and music, happy company with your family and neighborhood, you would simply find how well spent your day was. Peace-of-mind in very elusive indeed. And not all kinds of therapy lead you to it. And yet it is within reach, if not at finger tip. 

Daily grind is the principal cause of diabetes and other ailments. Medical science merely guides you to be able to return to your fitness before the doctor finds out you are suffering of high blood, kidney problem, fatty liver, jittery nerves, high uric acid, and arthritic joints, sleeplessness. nervousness, and a host of other ailments - real and imaginary (psychosomatic) - unless you realize there is a good reason to live with a noble goal in life beyond the so-called The Good Life in which virtually everyone is frantically aiming at as if it were a  pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

Easier said than done. Unless one has gone through a crossroad and made the right choice. I have met a number of patients who got a second lease of life. It is like saying, "You must almost die to be able to change your life."
 It's true, I am among them. Specially so that my genetic lineage is diabetic-prone. My dad was diabetic, and he didn't know it because he was a busy body on the farm, so he must have been burning his extra blood sugar. Not until he became sedentary because of old age. One day he hurt his foot and did not heal. Complications followed. He was 78.

But we are not pre-destined by our genes alone. There is no direct path that directly leads us to such fatalistic destiny. Diseases are not controlled by a single gene, and even if it involves multiple genes, there are built-in mechanisms in our body physiology that minimize, if not prevent, the expression - early or late - of the disease. On the other hand, many diseases can be prevented, at least postponed, by appropriate lifestyle, proper environment, adequate training and by active participation in disease control of our institutions - governmental, non-governmental, civic and community organizations.

How then can we explain the increasing number of cases, with more and more young people getting sick? In fact it is not only diabetes but other diseases as well like kidney malfunction, leukemia, stroke and heart attack, that have recently risen to alarming proportions. Then there are pathological diseases, surprisingly with ancient diseases included, like tuberculosis which continues to claim thousands of lives every year worldwide. Cases of depression and mental illnesses have also risen. Does it ring to us that the drug problem is linked with such psychological and emotional malady.

According to sociologists, as more and more people move from the rural to urban areas (There are more people living in the cities than in the countryside today.) chances are, vulnerability to the aforementioned diseases will continue to increase.

Evolutionists on the other hand, have traced a radical change from the Darwinian doctrine of "survival of the fittest." Breakthroughs in medical science have changed the course of human evolution from the natural process, thus integrating undesirable genes in our gene pool today. Vulnerability to diseases, among other aspects, is claimed to be one of the consequences.

These are of course, general findings and inferences which help explain why there are almost half a billion diabetics in the world today, mainly of Type II DM (Diabetes mellitus). Insulin treatment and strict monitoring are a must, otherwise the disease progresses to affect other organs of the body, and may lead to death. (Illustration)

Here is an outline of diabetes II signs and symptom for your reference. (From the Internet)

1. Extreme thirst
2. Frequent Urination
3. Weight change (for type 2 this could be a weight loss as in type 1 or a weight gain. People with type 2 diabetes increase their resistance to insulin when they gain weight. This will decrease the ability of cells in the body to use insulin and the result is an increased blood glucose.)
4. Fatigue
5. Vision changes and blurring of vision
6. Frequent infections (bacteria tends to thrive when blood glucose is high, this may include urinary tract infections and yeast infections)
7. Wounds and cuts that take a long time to heal
8. Tingling and numbness in the extremities (fingers and feet) High blood glucose over time can lead to damage to the nerves. This is a type of neuropathy common in diabetes.
9. In men, trouble with erections. 

10. Depressed, bored, lethargic, sensitive.
Whenever I see a child glued to the TV or computer for hours and hours everyday, subsisting on junk food and sugared water, and has grown overweight, I say to myself, "Here's a future diabetic." True enough, he is already diagnosed of Type I diabetes which comprise 10 percent of all diabetics. Fortunately medical treatment may not be needed for the moment.

This is misleading. All three types of diabetes, and others we do not know, have commonalities. I remember a foreigner jokingly remarked, "Filipinos are always eating." It's not only force of habit, we feel good when we eat a lot specially those with sweet tooth. Too much sugar punishes our organs, accumulates in our adipose tissues and the result is not only being overweight, but obese, a condition that is virtually irreversible.Obesity predisposes us to sedentary life. Doctors warn that overweight condition unless regulated shortens the life span of a person.

Typically since birth I was frail but physically active. Then in middle age I gained a lot of weight and lost interest in sports. My friends would tease me, my middle was "getting over my age." In short I became somewhat fat bellied like my late father.  Two major operations - kidney and gall bladder - one year apart changed not only my lifestyle, but the meaning of life itself.

For fifteen years now I don't only see myself a survivor, but one with a purpose. I find each day a bonus, each evening a respite for Thanksgiving. When I read Dr Victor Frankl's book. "In Search for Meaning" I found a kind of freedom from the tender traps of the Good Life.

Someone is knocking as I continue writing this article. It is Mackie my three-year old granddaughter. "Let's paint, Lolo" she begs. "And play the violin," she adds in anticipation. Another hour of meaningful leisure. Markus my grandson is learning to walk. Who says there is generation gap?

Diabetes is a social disease, so with many other illnesses. It may sound theoretical until one realizes it is true. And if it is so, then its cure is likewise social in nature. Which leads us to think that infirmities are disguised lessons for mankind to strive harder in search of peace, love and compassion that bind this world we live in. ~.

Yes, you can weather the early signs and symptoms of diabetes (and other illnesses).  And if you are already there, there's a good chance you will win the battle. And can save others, as well.
Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).

As of 2015, an estimated 415 million people have diabetes worldwide, with type 2 DM making up about 90% of the cases. This represents 8.3% of the adult population, with equal rates in both women and men. From 2012 to 2015, diabetes is estimated to have resulted in 1.5 to 5.0 million deaths each year. Diabetes at least doubles a person's risk of death. The number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 592 million by  2035. The global economic cost of diabetes in 2014 was estimated to be $612 billion USD. In the United States, diabetes cost $245 billion in 2012. (Internet, Wikipedia)

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