If you or someone you care for has, or is at risk of developing diabetes you are not alone. The United States is experiencing a diabetes epidemic.
Over 18 million Americans have diabetes & 1.3 million new cases are diagnosed each year. It is estimated that over 5 million people are unaware that they have the disease.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism--the way our bodies use food for growth and energy.
Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose (sugar), which is the main source of fuel for the body. When food is digested, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy.
The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get from our blood into our cells.
For glucose to get into our cells, insulin must be present in sufficient amounts to allow this transfer to occur.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin for this transfer to occur. With Type 2 diabetes your body doesn't use its own insulin very well, a condition known as insulin resistance. Both types of diabetes cause glucose to build up in your blood.
Type 1 vs Type 2
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, a condition whereby your own immune system attacks and damages insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This condition usually develops earlier in life & is often diagnosed in children & young adults.
Living with Type 1 diabetes requires daily doses of insulin as the pancreas can not produce enough insulin to support the transfer of glucose into one's cells.
Type 2 diabetes effects more than 14 million Americans and is the most common form of the disease. It is a metabolic disorder that usually develops in adults over the age of 50. However increasing numbers of young adults & even children that are overweight & lead sedentary lifestyles, are are being diagnosed with this form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes the pancreas can produce adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize glucose, but the body is unable to utilize it efficiently enough to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
Approximately 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes is associated with older age, physical inactivity, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, and ethnicity. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
What Is Pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is defined as having higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Before developing type 2 diabetes most people will have pre-diabetes or elevated blood glucose levels.
People with diabetes must learn to manage their diabetes & take responsibility for their day-to-day care. Much of the daily care
involves keeping blood glucose levels from going too low or too high.
Why Exercise is so Important
According to the American Diabetes Association, Exercise is beneficial to the health of people with both types of diabetes. First, exercise can take some glucose out of the blood to use for energy during and after exercise, which lowers blood glucose levels. Second, it helps delay or stop large blood vessel and heart (cardiovascular) disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of people with diabetes. All people with diabetes should exercise to counteract their increased risk of cardiovascular disease, to reach and maintain a healthy weight, and to enjoy themselves. An additional benefit for many people with diabetes is that exercise, and a healthy diet can help them achieve good blood glucose control.
Millions of Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes can dramatically lower their chances of getting the disease through diet and exercise, according to a nationwide study at Johns Hopkins and 26 other medical centers.
"This is the first major trial to show that diet and exercise can effectively delay diabetes in a diverse American population," says Christopher D. Saudek, M.D., director of The Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center and president of the American Diabetes Association.
Increasing your physical activity is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself, especially if you have diabetes. This doesn't necessarily mean joining a health club, you can make a significant difference by simply adding daily routines to boost your activity level.
According to diabetes expert Dr. Loren Wissner-Greene, a professor of endocrinology at New York University Medical Center, "Type II diabetes can be prevented, and the tools (diet & exercise) are available to everyone."
The benefits of 30-minutes of exercise, five days a week include:
Increased metabolism and muscle mass (which allows you to burn extra calories even when you are not exercising)
Increased glucose uptake
Lower blood glucose levels (which can help reduce or even eliminate your need for diabetes medication)
Improved response to insulin
Boost your ability to lose weight effectively and keep it off
Lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure
Reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke ... the leading causes of death for people with diabetes
Everyone can take steps to protect themselves from developing Type II diabetes, even those already showing signs of impending disease.
Check with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor before you start a new physical activity program. Ask about your medications-prescription and over the counter-and whether you should change the amount you take before you exercise. If you have heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, or foot problems, ask which types of physical activity are safe for you.
Be Fit Over Fifty can help you reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes or manage an existing condition with exercise programs that you can use in the privacy of your own home.
Regardless of your age or fitness level, Be Fit Over Fifty has a program that can enable you to better control your diabetes & maintain an independent lifestyle.
The Tone & Sculpt Program
Tone & Sculpt DVD ($19.95)
is an excellent 45 minute resistance training program designed to firm & tone all major muscle groups &
strengthen your back. This flexible program allows you to vary the intensity to match your comfort level.
It is a good choice for those who prefer to use a walking program or another cardio program on alternate days.
The Cardio-Strengthening Program
is a quick 30 minute program that combines stretching & low-impact, weight-bearing, aerobic movements. This program is a good choice for active adults and when used in conjunction with our Tone & Sculpt program, it can help you prevent and / or reverse the effects of osteoporosis.
Cardio-Strengthening DVD ($19.95)
The Interval Circuit Training Program
Interval Circuit Training DVD ($19.95)
is an excellent combination routine that can help you prevent and or reverse the effects
of osteoporosis. This easy to follow, 45 minute workout, alternates between resistance training,
with hand weights, and brief intervals of low impact, weight-bearing, Cardio movements.
The Personal Fitness Program
is intended for people who prefer a more gentle, seated program due to knee, back or
other weakness. It is well suited for people that are not very active, are older, or overweight.