Sugar Diabetes: Delicious Name, Nasty Disease
Years ago, my parents used to refer to diabetes as “sugar diabetes” or simply “sugar”. As a kid, it did not make sense to me that sugar (which tasted so good in my birthday cake and candy) could actually be a dreadful disease. Yet, I saw family members and family friends suffering – limb amputations, dialysis, heart attacks and strokes – which I was told were all related to their diabetes!
As a medical student, I learned that genes, in part, determine who develops diabetes and who does not. More than twenty years later, I now understand that the role of genes in Type 2 diabetes is relatively small compared to dietary and lifestyle factors. As with other preventable chronic diseases, Type 2 diabetes runs in families more because family members tend to eat the same food and sit on the same couch.
Several years ago, I was obese and pre-diabetic. In spite of my family history (that is riddled with obesity and diabetes), I am now cured of pre-diabetes and no longer obese. This could not have been accomplished with pills… only by significant dietary and lifestyle changes. Although medications may delay onset of diabetes related complications and death, drugs (combined with an unhealthy lifestyle) generally will not prevent, reverse, or cure diabetes. A healthy lifestyle is your best and only chance for accomplishing such “health miracles” since it addresses the root cause – an unhealthy lifestyle.
Remember, obesity and Type 2 diabetes tend to “walk” together. Beating obesity (and food addiction) is essential for overcoming diabetes.
By Dr. Ed James, BDO Healthy Lifestyle Expert
Dr. Ed James draws inspiration from his personal experiences with healthy lifestyle changes, having overcome prediabetes and obesity several years ago. In 2011, he founded Heal2BFree to focus on helping individuals and organizations to develop and implement action plans that help close the health disparities gap between blacks and whites.
Dr. James has given many presentations, including the 2011 National Medical Association Colloquium and regularly contributes preventive health-related articles to some of the nation’s top health publications. He is also the primary author and co-editor of Getting into Medical School – A Planning Guide for Minority Students.
He received his BS in Biology from Bucknell University and earned his MD and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania as a participant in the Penn Med Scholars combined degree program.