One in twenty people has diabetes in this country, more than 16 million Americans. New York City in particular is quietly approaching a diabetes crisis. N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times reports:
An estimated 800,000 adult New Yorkers - more than one in every eight - now have diabetes, and city health officials describe the problem as a bona fide epidemic. Diabetes is the only major disease in the city that is growing, both in the number of new cases and the number of people it kills. And it is growing quickly, even as other scourges like heart disease and cancers are stable or in decline.
The dangers of diabetes are twofold. Not only is the disease itself dangerous, but more than 70 percent of adults with Type II diabetes die of heart attacks and stroke. Kleinfield points out additional complications resulting from diabetes:
Diabetics are two to four times more likely than others to develop heart disease or have a stroke, and three times more likely to die of complications from flu or pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most diabetics suffer nervous-system damage and poor circulation, which can lead to amputations of toes, feet and entire legs; even a tiny cut on the foot can lead to gangrene because it will not be seen or felt.
Women with diabetes are at higher risk for complications in pregnancy, including miscarriages and birth defects. Men run a higher risk of impotence. Young adults have twice the chance of getting gum disease and losing teeth.
There is a simple explanation for instances of diabetes in New York City and the entire country. As our country's weight has risen, diabetes has increased accordingly. The worldwide explosion in diabetes parallels the increase in body weight. Kleinfield presents the factors attributed to climbing rates of diabetes in our sedentary nation:
An aging population A food supply spiked with sugars and fats A culture that promotes overeating and discourages exercise
In Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live he outlines a vegetable-based, high-nutrient diet that is instrumental in preventing and reversing disease. For those already stricken with the disease he offers some dietary suggestions to help control its effects:
Refined starches such as white bread and pasta are particularly harmful; avoid them completely Do not consume any fruit juice or dried fruits. Avoid all sweets, except fresh fruit in reasonable quantities. Two or three fruits for breakfast is fine, and one fruit after lunch and dinner is ideal. The best fruits are those with less sugar — grapefruit, oranges, kiwis, strawberries and other berries, melons, green apples Avoid all oil. Raw nuts are permitted, but only one ounce or less The name of your diet is the "greens and beans diet"; green vegetables and beans should make up most of your diet Limit animal food intake to no more than two servings of fish weekly Try to exercise regularly and consistently, like dispensing your medication. Do it on a regimented schedule, preferably twice daily. Walking upstairs is one of greatest exercises for weight loss
Check out this previous post for success stories about how how the Eat to Live diet can help defeat diabetes.