While there has been so much attention as of late focused on infectious diseases, there is another epidemic that may have even wider implications—type 2 diabetes. In and of itself, diabetes is a significant life-threatening condition. In addition, it is strongly associated with other important and potentially life-threatening diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, kidney disease, coronary artery disease, and even cancer.
According to CDC data from 2018, some 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5% of our population, have diabetes. The percentage of adults with this diagnosis increased with age, affecting more than 25% of those aged 65 years or older. And clearly, the data indicates that these numbers are progressively worsening with time. Continue reading
As we have explored previously, elevated blood sugar is clearly toxic for the brain. Higher blood sugar is clearly a risk for Alzheimer’s disease, along with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
But focusing on the brain, I think it’s important to emphasize that elevated blood sugar has wide-ranging negative effects on brain cells and their functionality. Elevated blood sugar is associated with inflammation, and this is a cornerstone mechanism across a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, persistent elevation of blood sugar ultimately compromises the function of the hormone insulin. We now recognize that insulin is important for the health and integrity of the brain not only because of its role in allowing glucose to be used as fuel, but also how it functions as a nurturing hormone. Continue reading
What science has revealed over the past decade about the role our resident microbes play in keeping us healthy has truly been remarkable. It’s now clear that the more than 100 trillion microbes living on and within us are, moment to moment, playing a fundamental role in virtually every system within the human body. Who would have conceived that research would have revealed, for example, that the bacteria living within the colon are helping shape our mood, regulating our appetite, manufacturing health-sustaining vitamins, controlling our immune systems and inflammation, and even influencing the expression of our DNA?
This expanding science is compelling, humbling, and, at the same time, empowering, as we now are beginning to make real inroads into understanding how changes in the microbiome (the collection of the microbes, their genetic material, and the metabolic products they create) affect health, disease resistance and longevity. Continue reading
Over the past several years, we’ve seen the rates of type 2 diabetes in the United States absolutely skyrocket. At this stage, there’s no doubt about it: lifestyle choices are playing a key role in causing this problem.
As far as I’m concerned, this is a threat to our collective health not only because of the harmful role diabetes can play in the body, but because of the myriad ailments that tend to be correlated with diabetes and its impacts elsewhere in the body, from the kidneys to the brain. For instance, did you know that type 2 diabetics may have as much as a 4x increase in risk for becoming a patient with Alzheimer’s?
All of this in mind, let’s look at what lifestyle choices can do to improve the healthspan of type 2 diabetics.