Updated: May 12, 2021
I heard those diagnosed with diabetes were at higher risk for developing severe COVID symptoms?
According to the American Diabetes Association:
1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
In 2015, 88 million Americans age 18 and older had pre-diabetes.
People with diabetes are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19. In general, people with diabetes are more likely to have more severe symptoms and complications when infected with any virus.
Diabetes runs in my family, how can I reduce my risk?
The good news is there are so many opportunities to prevent and reverse diabetes. It all starts with reforming how you think about food and learning how to listen to your body. Before diabetes, or even pre-diabetes develops your body will give you ample warning that something is amiss. The problem is that we are not taught to watch for signals from our body. Instead we are told to "toughen up", "ignore the pain", "push through it". We are also taught that food has no
thing to do with overall health. SAY WHAT??!! 😩
First, PLEASE STOP IGNORING THE WARNING SIGNS!!
If your body is telling you something, stop and listen! Even if you have no idea what the message is, the more you listen the easier it becomes to understand the problem. Simply acknowledging that SOMETHING is wrong is a great start. This is true not only for diabetes prevention but overall disease prevention!
When you are first starting out, I recommend keeping a journal of all the weird symptoms you have, then take this to your next doctor's appointment! We love when people do this! Common symptoms of blood sugar imbalance include, fatigue (especially after a meal), insomnia, mood swings, PMS, dizziness, and increased thirst, just to name a few! If you have any of these symptoms it's worth a chat with your doctor. You can also purchase a home glucose monitor and track your sugars when you feel "off". Note any patterns?
Then you can find a skilled practitioner to help guide you through several steps of optimizing blood sugar. This involves eating a diet tailored to your needs (it doesn't mean only eating chicken and broccoli and it definitely doesn't mean never having treats.) Moving your body regularly in a way that is right for you. And tailoring your supplement routine to support your diet and exercise routine. It also requires adequate sleep, preferably when it's dark out. Those working graveyard shifts are at increased risk for developing many diseases, so I recommend you do everything you can to work daylight hours if possible. And finally proper hydration and mental/emotional health.
What causes blood sugar imbalance?
While diet is often the primary culprit to blame, there are many other factors that contribute to how your body processes food. One major contributor is the health of your microbiome. You are actually made up of billions of bacteria and fungi; there are more of them in and around your body than your own human cells. These guys are super important for digestion and absorption of nutrients. Studies have found that those with blood sugar imbalance tend to have different microbiomes than those with healthy blood sugars. This makes sense when you consider the food you eat feeds the bacteria in your gut. But did you also know the bugs in your gut control your food cravings? This often makes re-balancing microbiomes very challenging, but its definitely doable with the right support in place.
I was told I need to lose weight and my blood sugar will improve, but I can't lose weight no matter how much I exercise. What should I do?
One major cause of weight gain and insulin resistance is excess toxins in the system. It is estimated that 25% of the population has trouble detoxing mycotoxins (mold) and many more have genetic SNPs that affect other areas of detoxification. One way the body protects itself from excess toxins is to store them in fat tissue- cue the food cravings! In order to lose the weight we need to rid the body of the toxins and ensure that when fat cells start to break down and release stored toxins they are able to exit the body.
We also have to lower inflammation. An inflamed body is in survival mode. Survival mode means the body is trying to conserve as much energy as possible, which is contrary to weight loss. One common cause of inflammation is food allergies and sensitivities. In order to reduce this inflammation we must identify the cause and remove it from the diet. While your diet might look healthy on paper, if it's triggering an inflammatory cascade in your system you will never be able to lose weight. Find yourself a doctor who can identify your food sensitivities and cross-reactions and help you build a healthy diet that meets all of YOUR unique needs.
I had/have gestational diabetes, does this put me at increased risk for developing diabetes later on?
The short answer is yes. All of the above recommendations will help you identify triggers for your blood sugar imbalances. If implemented along with a healthy diet and exercise routine designed for you, diabetes can be prevented in future pregnancies and in general. Your needs during pregnancy will be vastly different than your needs postpartum and during lactation. Please work with a licensed professional to ensure you and your baby are getting optimal nutrients. Pregnancy is not the time to try to detox or lose weight unless you were specifically instructed to do so by your doctor.
Written by Dr. Terra Winston
Originally published 03/18/21, updated May 12, 2020.
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