Diabetes has become a major health problem, “approaching epidemic proportions globally,” according to an article published in the International Journal of Health Sciences.
About 12.3 percent of all adults have diabetes and a whopping 25.9 percent of adults over the age of 65 in the United States have the disease.
That translates, according to the American Diabetes Association, to 30.3 million adults with diabetes, and 7.2 million of them are undiagnosed. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in America which experts say is grossly under reported since it is often an underlying and not a direct cause of death. Diabetes is a major contributory factor in cardiovascular disease.
What is diabetes? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is “the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.”
But without insulin, the blood sugar levels can build up too high and cause damage to the body, especially to the kidneys, nerves of the hands and feet.
With Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, people can become insulin resistant which is a prime feature of the disease. Metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions characterized by excess weight, high blood pressure and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood may trigger insulin resistance, along with obesity, pregnancy, stress, and inactivity.