Taking a beating from diabetes?

| July 29, 2013

HOUSE CALLS by Dr. Gerald Deas

When I was a kid, going to public school, it was inevitable that the toughest hyper maniac in the class always wanted to pick someone out to beat up at 3 p.m. Well, one day I was named as the victim of that threat, and, to say the least, I could not concentrate on my school work the whole day. For one thing, I didn’t know what I had done to get on his “beat-up list,” and secondly, I was going to school out of my “’hood.” In those days, to get to school I had to walk approximately 12 city blocks and I had to go through areas where gangs ruled. Each had a name which caused fear to run up and down your spine, such as, The Nits, Bishops, Jolly Stompers, Green Avenue Stompers, etc. The boys that I hung out with did not belong to a gang but we always defended one another. To continue the conflict that I was faced with that day, I was forced to make a decision, which was plain and simple. I was either going to meet him “straight up,” and have it out, or leave early and get back to my “’hood,” as fast as my skinny legs could carry me.

Since I was small in stature— which you would never think, looking at me today—I decided to steal out of school early, and run. Of course, by running and not sticking up to the punk, you would be called a punk the next day. Hey, like I said, “sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you.” Anyhow, the next day, the bully had forgotten that I was even on his list. I also followed my father’s advice who constantly reminded me “A good run is better than a bad stand.” That is still my philosophy today.

I am basically not a fighter of human beings, in fact, I love them. However, I sure would like to kick the SUGAR out of the bad boy diabetes. This tyrant beats up on millions of folks yearly, causing them to go blind, experience kidney failure, lose their legs and feet, suffer heart disease and often stroke out.

Diabetes is a disease that is usually silent but may be present with recognizable symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss and tingling in the hands and feet. These are actually late symptoms of diabetes. To properly diagnose this condition in its early stages, a blood test can be obtained measuring the fasting glucose which should be less than 110mg/dl or a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level no greater than six.

I am so glad that as a fighter of this disease, that I am in the position to let you know how you can beat up on this bad boy, and won’t have to lay a hand on him but you still may have to run. Running and walking can really help to beat up on diabetes. The more exercises you do, the more sugar you burn up in your muscles. It has been suggested that walking 45 minutes three to four times weekly can help in defeating diabetes. Cutting down on simple sugars like glucose and fructose, which make up the main ingredients in tasty beverages can help. Adding more complex carbohydrates and grains can give diabetes a licking. Reducing saturated fats found in red meats and dairy products will allow insulin to work more efficiently.

Exercise and the reduction of calories is a punch right in the gut of that bad boy diabetes. Remember the ditty that I wrote:

…If you have to batter it…don’t even flatter it….If you have to cream it, don’t even dream it…If you have to whip it, why not skip it…If you have to fry it, don’t even buy it.

Following these suggestions you will surely cut down on your caloric intake. If your blood glucose does not get under control with exercise and diet, it is important to take medications that your doctor prescribes. Your blood sugar level should be kept at 90-110mg, and hemoglobin A1c should be less than six, in order to prevent blood vessel and nerve damage. It is also important to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis to identify and curb early eye diseases, which can lead to blindness. A yearly visit to a foot doctor won’t hurt to ensure and prevent foot infection in its early stages. Please don’t walk around the house barefooted. A lot of germs can be picked up from the floor causing foot infections.

Following the above suggestions, you can really beat up on diabetes without raising your fist.

Well, I guess I’ll go for a run and see you later!

For great health tips and access to an online community of physicians and other healthcare professionals, visit DrDeas.com.

This article originally appeared in the July 24 print edition.


Category: Health

About the Author ()

Gerald W. Deas, MD, MPH, MA is a physician, poet, patient advocate, playwright, media personality, political activist and public health crusader. Read his full bio at http://www.downstate.edu/giving/funds/deas.html/.

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