Diabetes, the self inflicted plague of the 21th Century

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has a too high blood sugar, the body does not produce enough insulin or cells do not respond to insulin.

To put is simply, people have problems to convert food to energy. In a normal situation the body breaks down food after a meal to glucose and then transports it by the blood though the body. Cells then convert the glucose into energy using insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. 

People with diabetes do not have enough insulin, are not able to use insulin properly and as a result the blood sugar increases while the cells starve of energy.

The different types of diabetes:

Diabetes is fully named diabetes mellitus and exists in multiple types. The main types are:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: body fails to produce insulin
  • Type 2 Diabetes: cells fail to use insulin properly
  • Gestational diabetes: diabetes during a pregnancy
  • There is a high number of other types of diabetes which are less common and where naming is not standardized.

    Diabetes is treatable and to some extend diabetes type 2 is curable, especially in early stages. Diabetes type 2 in its early stages is marked by reduced insulin sensitivity.

    In this state also called pre-diabetes the blood glucose levels are higher but not yet high enough to confirm diabetes. Many people with a pre-diabetes status develop diabetes. In a US group of pre-diabetes patients 11% of the group developed full diabetes per year (such a total of 33%) for the following three years. (link)

    Diabetes type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, over 90 % of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

    Symptoms, medical complications and testing of diabetes:

    Over time the high blood sugar levels in a diabetes patient damages nerves and blood vessels.

    There can be a high number of symptoms and medial complications due to diabetes. The symptoms are such as reduced vision, speed up breathing and vomiting. Medical complications which can arise are kidney disease, blindness, nerve problems or amputations.

    Symptoms for diabetes type 1 can set on very fast. Symptoms of diabetes type 2 normally set on slowly.

    With any symptoms a specialized doctor should be contacted. An easy blood test for the glucose level is used to test for diabetes. At the Personal Dietology Center Palitra Pitania we ask our clients to do a blood test, especially if they are in a high risk group for diabetes.

    Undiagnosed diabetes can have major medical implications up to the amputation of a leg or a stroke.

    Medical reasons for diabetes:

    Type 1 diabetes is due to genetics and infections. It seems that genetics and an environmental trigger have to come together to result in a patient developing diabetes type 1.

    Type 2 diabetes is due to lifestyle choices. Basically overweight due to wrong nutrition and low physical activity.

    Type 2 diabetes is directly linked to obesity. Almost 90% with type two diabetes are overweight or obese. Key driver for overweight and obesity are the wrong nutrition and wrong diet.

    Myths about Diabetes and how a dietitian can help

    Myth #1 All Type 2 diabetics need to take insulin or other anti-diabetic drugs for life.

    That is not the case. There is hope. Even if you are currently using insulin or anti-diabetic medications to manage your Type 2 diabetes, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate your need for drugs by losing weight, exercising, and sticking to your diet plan. (No-one though should discontinue any medications without consulting their physician).

    Myth #2 People with «prediabetes» (or a family history of Type 2 diabetes) always eventually end up with full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

    Healthy Food

    Not at all. If your doctor has told you that your blood sugar levels are «borderline» or that you have «prediabetes,» this is a wake-up call! Get serious about losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising and you can very likely avoid developing diabetes. Take a look at what healthy nutrition is. Having a family history of Type 2 diabetes also doesn’t mean that you will also get the disease. You’re in control!

    Myth #3 If I’m using insulin or antidiabetic medications, I can eat what I want.

    Taking medications is not a substitute for eating right, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. Do everything you can to manage your diabetes with healthy lifestyle habits—even if you are taking diabetes medication. The medications will work better, you’ll need to take less of them, and you’ll stay healthier in the long run and might be able to discontinue medication at all. Just learn about healthy eating on our pages, even watching videos.

    Myth #4 If I’m diabetic, I shouldn’t eat fruit.

    It’s true that fruit contains carbohydrates and can affect blood sugar. But fruit can be a very healthy part of your diet, even if you are diabetic. Fruit contains valuable nutrients and fiber and has a milder effect on blood sugar than other types of sweets. A healthy diabetic meal plan should contain two or three servings of whole fruit each day. Whole fruit is a better choice than processed fruits like applesauce, fruit cocktail, dried fruits, or fruit juice.

    Myth #5 I only need to pay attention to carbohydrates, not protein or fat.

    Limiting carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar levels in check but it’s also important to be sure that your total calorie intake is appropriate. Eating too much protein or fat can lead to weight gain, which can accelerate diabetes. Diabetics also have an increased risk of heart disease, so watching your saturated fat intake is also important. Find out how many calories you need.

    Diabetes in the United States

    As with many trends the US is also far ahead of Russia with Diabetes. Looking at the diabetes situation in the US allows to forecast the situation in Russia in the future if no active steps are taken by the relevant bodies and the society.

    Diabetes rates in 2007 per county in the United States of America

    In 2007 the US had 17.9 million diagnosed cases, 5.7 million undiagnosed and 57 million people were at pre-diabetes glucose levels. This translates into a percentage rate of about 8%. Though there are areas in the US with up to 15% of the population have diabetes today.

    Most shocking is to the break down in age groups. 23% of age 60 or older people have diabetes.  (link)

    And the projections show a further steep increase of diabetes cases in the US. The CDC projects that in 2050 20% to 30% of the US population could have diabetes.

    Overweight and Obesity Rates in Russia in comparison

    Overweight and Obesity Rates of Russia in comparison

    To see a detailed map how diabetes exploded over the last years see this link

    Total cost of diabetes in the US were estimated to be about 218 bln USD in 2007. A number close to the federal budget of the Russian Federation.

    Rates of Diabetes in Russia

    There are different shocking statistic about diabetes in Russia.

    One study reports that today there are an estimated close to 10 million cases of diabetes in Russia today. This translates into a rate of about 7%.

    A different study points out that there are

  • 2.8 mln registered cases
  • 5 mln estimated undiagnosed cases
  • and 5.7 mln pre-diabetes state. (link)
  • According to this study every day in Russia:

  • 756 people suffer heart attacks as a result of diabetes
  • 474 people suffer stroke as a result of diabetes
  • 104 people experience kidney failure as a result of diabetes
  • 60 people will have amputations due to diabetes (link)
  • One study said that half the cases of diabetes in Russia are undiagnosed. In the US it is estimated that about 1/3 of the cases are undiagnosed. (link)

    According to the Russian Diabetes Federation by 2025 as many as 10 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes which means practically a doubling of the diabetes rate.

    Costs of Diabetes

    The cost of diabetes are direct costs for the treatment as well as all the indirect cost such as the reduced ability to work etc. The biggest cost though is the reduced level level of health and reduced quality of life.

    It is estimated that the healthy cost of an individual with diabetes are three times higher than without diabetes. On average about 10% of the medical expenditures on a national level are due to diabetes.

    According to one estimate the cost of diabetes in Russia are between 3,6 billion and 6,6 billion international dollars per year. (link)

    There is also a state program in Russia to fight diabetes between 2007 to 2011 of 6 billion rubles.

    Diabetes and Lifestyle:

    Diabetes Type 2 is directly linked to obesity. Obesity rates are rising all over the world but especially strong in countries which so far had lower rates.

    Of people developing diabetes type 2 80% are overweight or obese. With the increase in the obesity rates over time the diabetes rates will increase rapidly in Russia.

    There are a high number of statistics which document that weight loss and the right diet, healthy nutrition and physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes type 2.

    Up to 80% of the diabetes type 2 occurrence can be avoided in Russia though healthy nutrition, the right diet and the right food and also an increase amount of physical activity.

    The right diabetic nutrition consists first of all of a healthy and balanced nutrition. The healthy diabetic nutrition should be discussed with a nutrition specialist and doctor understanding nutrition and diabetes. An experience nutritionist can also provide relevant insight how to adopt the diet be healthy.

    When you change to the right diet though key is to work with an experienced dietitian who can also adjust your daily nutrition right and support you in monitoring your blood sugar.

    How our dietitians work in cooperation endocrinologist to fight and if possible reverse your diabetes

    1. It is much easier to prevent diabetes than to cure diabetes!

    If you luckily do not yet have diabetes but due to family history, or obesity you are in a high risk group you should immediately act to reduce your likely hood to become diabetic.

    The major role in the diabetes today plays nutrition. It is key if you want to avoid diabetes to eat the right food, eat at right times and also correctly prepared food. All these questions around food are a core competency of a dietitian or nutritionist and not of an endocrinologist.

    2.To control diabetes, nutrition is key

    When your are diagnosed as diabetic your endocrinologist will prescribe you the relevant medicine and advise you to lose weight though a regime of healthy nutrition.  Healthy Food

    In the experienced shared by our clients endocrinologist do not have the necessary time and provide rather general advice like not to eat bread, potatoes or pasta. But usually the will not tell you which types of bread and pasta you can still eat with diabetes.

    Most frequently given advice on nutrition rather generally, for example, are advised not to eat bread, potatoes, pasta. But usually did not specify what kind of bread can still be included in the diet or any pasta will not adversely affect the body.

    In special classes about diabetes you will be taught about important grains are for you but you will most likely not be taught which grains to select, how much grain to eat and how to cook grains.

    For all the questions around your new diet endocrinologist usually do not have enough time or enough in detail experience to tailor it to your individual needs.

    3. Living with diabetes is only possible with a lifestyle change and not just by taking medicine.

    Only a healthy lifestyle including the right nutrition helps you to live a decent life with diabetes, medicine alone does not help.

    Taking the time and to work with a dietitian will allow you to reduce severe complications that might arise such as vascular lesions, hypertension, gangrene, ulcers, reduced vision and amputations.

    Only an experienced dietitian has the time and the know how to analysis on a weekly basis your dietary habits. Only an experienced dietitian can explain you what to eat, how to eat it, when to eat it and how to cook right.

    Reducing diabetes risk with a qualified diatitian and doctor:

    Working with the doctors at the Personal Dietology Center Palitra Pitania you can reduce your diabetes risk by a big percentage (big is larger then 50% so some studies show) if you are in one of the at risk groups.

    You are in a risk group if:

    • Your body mass index > 30;
    • Your waistline is above 86 cm for women, 90 cm for men
    • There is a family history of diabetes

      If you are in a risk group for diabetes you should be concerned and undertake the right steps to protect your health. The risk to incur diabetes increase the longer you are in a risk group, the older you get. In the United States as stated earlier over 23% of the over 60 year old population has diabetes.

      One studies showed a reduction of 58% of the risk to incur diabetes in a group of patients with a body mass index of 34.

      Even only a 5 to 10 kgs reduction of weight are reported to have a very positive impact on the blood sugar levels. Positive effects are

      • Lower blood sugar
      • Reduce blood pressure
      • Improve cholesterol levels
      • Lighten the stress on hips, knees, ankles, and feet

      значительное снижение весаPlus, you’ll probably have more energy, get around easier, and breathe easier.

      And do try to reduce your weight alone without the supervision of an experience doctors and dietitian. This especially if you take any medication like insulin. This because you can not know all the metabolism effects of food on your blood sugar level.

      Our Offer to you:

      At the Personal Dietology Center work experience doctors who additionally are trained as dietitians.

      Our doctors/dietitians can talk to your doctor/endocrinologist to design together the right nutritional program for you.

      Our doctors can read the blood test you have already done or can advise you where to do a qualified blood test for your blood sugar levels.

      In case you level of glucose in the blood are increased our dietitians will discuss our nutritional program in detail with you and tailor it to your needs so that you learn additionally to losing lots of weight how to manage your blood sugar levels right. Healthy Food

      Our clients lose about 1 kg per week. Early weight loss in our programs is always very fast and in the first two to three weeks up to 2 kgs per week is not unusual. We had several clients here in high risk groups, and one already with diabetes, who lost after one meeting 5 kgs!

      With these weight losses in our special program «Easy Step Diabetes» you can reduce your risk of diabetes substantially if you are in a high risk group or already have pre-diabetes levels of blood sugar.

      Please contact us and meet up for a free information meeting. The best way every you can spend your time in case you are concerned about diabetes.

      Our diabetes clients (Russian)

      Invitation for a free information meeting at the Personal Dietology Center Palitra Pitania