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World Health Day

Posted by Mike Gales on

I think that we could agree that most of us are guilty of wanting to look good and that is usually the main motivator when we think of working out and getting into shape. We all like the idea of becoming more aesthetically pleasing. That is why every add that we see in the magazines or on TV is all about looking great on the beach or fitting into those new pair of jeans. But what about feeling better, being healthier and living longer, shouldn’t those goals be our main motivation?

This April 7th will mark World Health Day in 2016 and it offers a quick reminder that we should be looking at health both physically and psychologically on a deeper level. There is more to being healthy than simply looking good and every year the World Health Organization (WHO) puts together a campaign that shines a spotlight on a different theme to raise health awareness. This year that theme happens to be a disease called Diabetes, which I am sure you have heard of but for the sake of helping the WHO spread health awareness, let’s get you a little more familiar with the basics.

What is Diabetes?

In general you get Diabetes when your Pancreas stops producing Insulin or your body can no longer properly use the Insulin that it does produce. Insulin is a hormone which allows the cells in your body to absorb sugar so that it can be used for energy or perhaps stored as fat to be used later on. Without Insulin your body’s cells cannot provide you with the amount of energy that you need to properly function and your body cannot regulate the level of sugar that is present in your blood. Continuously having high blood sugar levels can have devastating effects on the human body which can lead to an increased risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, Blindness and Kidney failure and if that doesn’t scare you then also know that Diabetes is a leading cause of limb amputation.

There are 2 main Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 is usually is associated with children and was often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes. With Type 1 Diabetes the body’s own immune system will attack certain cells in the pancreas and severely limit its ability to produce Insulin.
  • Type 2 is usually associated with adults yet the prevalence among children has been on the rise due to an increase in childhood obesity rates. With Type 2 Diabetes the body can still produce Insulin but there is just not enough of it because the body cells have become resistant and less sensitive to Insulin due to overexposure. Family history and Ethnicity do play a role but the main contributing factor is an unhealthy lifestyle of a high sugar diet and physical inactivity. That harmful combination has the body continuously using Insulin to cope with high levels of sugar in the blood and over time the body’s Insulin receptors become dull.

Just some FYI of Type 2 Diabetes:

There are over 350 million people with Diabetes worldwide and to put that into perspective that is more people than the entire population of United Sates. Of all of those diabetics, up to 95 percent have Type 2 Diabetes and that number seems to be rising. The same conditions that cause Type 2 Diabetes (a poor diet and inactivity) are also the same conditions that contribute to obesity. There has been a spike in obesity rates over the past few decades and that has consequently led to an increase in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is also linked to over 1.5 million deaths per year and this disease is so devastating because Type 2 Diabetes doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes some time for the body’s receptor cells to become less sensitive to Insulin and for that reason people are not as alarmed as they should be. When a frog is put into boiling water it will simply jump out but when the temperature increase is very gradual it will sit there until it gets boiled alive. The onset with Type 2 Diabetes is so gradual that people continue their unhealthy lifestyle choices until it is so late and severe symptoms begin to arise.

Some Common Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes;

  • You are often very thirsty.
  • You go to the bathroom to pee often.
  • You begin to feel extremely tired and weak.
  • You notice that your vision is becoming blurred.
  • You experience rapid weight loss.
  • You notice changes in your skin like it feeling dry or itchy. Your skin becomes infected and skin sores don’t heal normally.
  • You may notice numbness or tingling feeling in your feet.

What can you do to prevent it?

There are certain medications available that can help people live with Type 2 Diabetes once they have been diagnosed and if you have any of the above symptoms then you should definitely think about getting tested. Yet a major aim of this year’s World Health Day campaign is to raise the awareness that it never need get to that point. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and there are two simple things that are far more successful at helping you avoid Type 2 Diabetes than any pharmaceutical pill or drug.

  • 1. A healthy diet that has less simple sugar. There will be less sugar circulating in your blood if you eat less of it.
  • 2. Exercise more. It seems that exercise can help Insulin sensitively by decreasing the amount of blood sugar in circulation because the body will shuttle that sugar into your muscles to replenish glycogen stores after exercise.

It’s strange that our society doesn’t seem to mind the constant soliciting from the fitness industry for the sake of vanity but for some reason we often roll their eyes and huff every time that someone suggests that we change certain habits to improve our health. It takes too much time to exercise or costs too much to eat healthier they say. But this World Health Day I will not try to motivate you by telling you how great you will look by choosing a healthier lifestyle but instead I will remind you of two tangible facts about the cost of Diabetes. 

It will actually consume more of your time to be constantly monitoring your blood sugar levels and injection yourself with shots of Insulin than working out 3 days a week. It will also cost you less to eat a healthier diet than having to pay for visits to the doctor or buying diabetic supplies. So this April 7th just take a moment to reflect on what is most important to you. Perhaps that is your family or it may even be your career. Then realize that you never need lose those things due to getting Diabetes! Augmenting your health will add more life to your years and more years to your life so that you can focus on those things that you love… and hopefully that will provide you with more motivation than simply fitting into a pair of jeans.

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