Why Gamble with Diabetes?

Are you a gambler? Do you love the thrill of placing a Vegas bet on the craps or card tables? How much are you willing to gamble at a time? Would you be willing to bet your home on a sure bet? Or are you more of a small time gambler who see’s no harm in the benign scratcher tickets and occasional Powerball game. You know, nothing harmful ever comes from scratching tickets at the local convenience store. Heck that $20 purchase of tickets is going to actually pay off big time one day, right?

How about gambling with your life and or your health? We see this every day when smokers walk out to smoking areas and light up their cigarettes. To a non-smoker, those types are a special fucking kind of stupid aren’t they? After all, we are only gifted with one set of lungs when we are born. How many roll the dice with alcohol by taking their first drink while knowing that it affects some to the point of losing everything. You have likely seen hobo’s panhandling on street corners for enough scratch to purchase a bottle of Wild Irish Rose to swill down under the bridge with Ol Smokey and thier pal affectionately refered to as Zoo Breath. Yeah, those bums gambled and lost with that one didn’t they? Of course, we are all better than those stew bums, right?

We can all take relatively safe gambles with our lives, and not have to pay the Piper for several years. Hell, most of us live for today and cannot fathom the future 30 years later when we can not see past the ends of our own noses. It’s not like we are playing Russian Roulette with a .357 Magnum when we bite into a Snickers Bar. Or are we……

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family. Family members on both sides have suffered it, therefore it is only prudent that I do everything I can in order to avoid it myself. Knowing that it runs in my family, it would be a dick move if I throw caution to the wind and gamble on my life that I can eat tons of sugar and carbs and never get it myself. For all my reasons “Why” for losing weight and committing myself to a life style of health and wellness, avoiding Type 2 Diabetes ranks right there at the top of the list for living the way I do. It is why I promote a diet high in protein and low in carbs. Complex carbs only. No sugar or processed foods. Avoiding those foods are now just a part of my lifestyle which has been given the title David’s Way by my friend.

WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.(1)

You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. Diabetes is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. (1)

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • feeling tired
  • blurred vision
  • numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • sores that do not heal
  • unexplained weight loss

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart disease.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including

  • overweight and obesity
  • not being physically active
  • insulin resistance
  • genes

(1) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

On Weight Watcher’s social media Connect, I have responded to people who have trouble with losing weight by telling them they should quit sugar all together. It is unbelievable how pissed some of them get when I make this suggestion despite the fact it will work for them if only they try. Hell, their panties can get in such a twist, you would think I had barged into their home and removed every source of their sugar. Because sugar is seen as a food source which is added to just about everything now days, many can not see how harmful it can be for some folks. Not just in the problems which stem from obesity, but the even uglier problems which can be prevented just by not eating sugar and by watching your intake of even complex carbohydrates.

If you look at the top causes of Type 2 Diabetes, you will see that being over weight, obese and not being physically active are the top causes. Fixing the third item will help to fix the first two, but is not enough by itself if you still like to indulge in sweet treats on a regular basis. You can not outrun or out work a bad diet as a permanent fix to being over weight or obese. You have to fix your diet and mind set first and foremost. If you need a reason, just look at those feet afflicted with diabetic ulcers with the understanding that your diet can either cause the same for you, or it could correct this course before you get there by simply eating whole and healthy foods and cutting out sugar and processed foods from your diet. Every time you stick a spoonful of sugary crap in your mouth, you are gambling that you will never be stricken with that horrible condition.

Besides ugly ulcers on your extremities which can often lead to amputations, are pints of your favorite ice cream or Little Debby Cakes, worth your eye sight? Do you value your vision enough to clean up your diet? The above pictures are eyes with Diabetic Retinopathy. When your child or grandchild looks into your eyes, do you care if these eyes are what they peer into? Would you ever want to gaze into your child or grand children’s eyes and see these looking back at you? Probably not, but if you do not fix your diet, quit or at least greatly reduce your sugar intake, and increase your physical activity, those eyes might just become your reality. Bad things happen to all of us, not just the other guy.

The costs of Type 2 Diabetes to us personally and financially are devastating to our lives and causes preventable heart ache and stress. Nobody need suffer from Type 2 Diabetes if only they eat healthy whole foods and incorporate vigorous exercise into their lives.

According to American Diabetes Association:

The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 is $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.

The largest components of medical expenditures are:

  • hospital inpatient care (30% of the total medical cost),
  • prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes (30%),
  • anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (15%), and
  • physician office visits (13%).

People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752 per year, of which about $9,601is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for 1 in 4 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

Indirect costs include:

  • increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion) and
  • reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population,
  • reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.3 billion),
  • inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($37.5 billion), and
  • lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion).

Diabetes Costs in Specific Populations

  • Most of the cost for diabetes care in the U.S., 66%, is provided by government insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, and the military). The rest is paid for by private insurance (60%) or by the uninsured (2%).
  • People with diabetes who do not have health insurance have 60% fewer physician office visits and are prescribed 52% fewer medications than people with insurance coverage—but they also have 168% more emergency department visits than people who have insurance.
  • Total per-capita health expenditures are higher among men than women ($10,060 vs. $9,110).
  • Total per-capita health care expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($8,050) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($10,470) and among non-Hispanic whites ($9,800).
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, per capita hospital inpatient costs are 23% higher among non-Hispanic blacks and 29% lower among Hispanics. Non-Hispanic blacks also have 65% more emergency department visits than the population with diabetes as a whole.
  • Among states, California has the largest population with diabetes and thus the highest costs, at $39.47 billion. Texas ($25.60 billion), Florida ($24.80 billion), and New York ($21.23 billion) round out the top four states in terms of total annual cost.

(2) American Diabetes Association

I can not imagine any caring individual wanting to burden their family with these problems, nor can I see anyone truly wanting to risk this for themselves. Yet, every time we indulge in unhealthy eating practices, we take a huge gamble that at some point this will be our lives and not just the life of the other guy. When you take your little girl down to the Dairy Queen on a hot summer day, it is inconceivable that anyone would want this for their sweet child, yet as a society, our children are being lead down this path every day when we feed them sugary foods that might taste really good but have zero nutritional value to man kind.

Friends reading this,know that if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life. Quit eating sugar, and or drinking alcohol. Get on a proven weight loss program through Weight Watchers or My Fitness Pal, and commit yourself to not losing weight so much as just living a healthy life style. The weight loss will come if you make this commitment. Next, get your ass moving with some kind of exercise. Create a plan for exercise and stick to it. Create a long term goal with as many short term goals as you need to get to the long term one. Be specific in what you are going to do. Do not say I will walk more, or I will try to lose weight. That is too vague to be of any good. Say I will walk briskly 15 minutes a day, or I will walk briskly 2 miles per day 4 days a week. With weight loss, I will lose how ever many pounds you need to lose. Lets say 50 for the long term. But in the short term, break that down to 5 pound incremental short term goals and only concentrate on those until you get to your long term goal. Learn to make your world small in order to reduce stress which leads to binge eating. The less mental clutter in your life, the less stress you will have in order to fully commit yourself to a life style of health and wellness.

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12 thoughts on “Why Gamble with Diabetes?

  1. I am was diagnosed with type 2. I joined WW and quit white foods – sugars, flour,white rice. 10 months later and my diabetes is resolved. I am no longer classified as diabetic. My insulin resistance has also been resolved. You are so right. Eating right, exercise and losing weight has saved me. I have a family history of both types but you are not destined by your genetics. You can make the choice to be healthy.

  2. I’ve also been reading where research says artificial sweeteners effect blood sugar the same as sugar. What are your thoughts?

    1. Artificial sweeteners on the surface are not as harmful as some believe, same as natural sweeteners such as honey and agave are not as good as we are told. Honey and agave are still simple sugars.

      Back to artificial sweeteners, there is no physical need for detox. The problem comes from our bodies and taste becoming so accustomed to sweet foods, the sweet taste from artificial sweeteners trigger the same dopamine response actual sugar produces. Which is not helpful if reducing sugar and carbs from your diet. It’s kind of like the same response many get from drinking a non alcoholic beer where drinking one is not satisfying and leaves you wanting or searching for a buzz.

  3. My mother had type 2 diabetes. She was able to control it for years taking the pills. She didn’t follow a healthy eating plan. She didn’t go back to WW (she was a member in the 70’s and even made LT) she took on a “I know what I’m doing” attitude, that attitude matched her right into full blown insulin dependent diabetes. It affected her heart, she had 5 bypasses! It affected her kidneys, and her memory with dementia. After helping to care for her for over 3 years and seeing the effects, I knew right away this was not for me. I was already at WW LT during those 3 years and I was and still am hell bent and determined that is not the road I want to travel down. I think the hardest part was watching the dementia take over. It may or may not of been caused by her diabetes, but I feel it played a huge role in it. Right now all my blood work is where it needs to be and I’m thrilled especially with my cholesterol levels! Do I love sugar? Oh yes & it’s a huge trigger for me. Do I indulge in a snickers bar? Yes on an occasion, the same with ice cream and frozen yogurt. But, I keep it out of the house because I know me & it just doesn’t need to be here! Not having those trigger foods in my house definitely helps me keep in check!
    Thank you David for an awesome article!

  4. Great article. Reads like a textbook, with a awash bucklers touch….kinda take the veneer off the furniture! My dad died from a heart attack at 60. I’m turning 60 in October. He was actually in great shape, and ate ‘pretty well’. Just genetics. I have done all I can to crush cholesterol and still had a high reading. Discouraged, but I know it would have been worse without lifestyle and diet changes. Glad you covered Type 2 so well…,can’t overcome genetics.

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