Diabetics turn in record numbers to drugs, diabetes testers, & supplies while evidence mounts that the only effective treatment is weight loss, a healthy diet & exercise.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing “epidemics” of the modern age, with more than 230 million diabetics worldwide. Drug companies continue to produce new medications and treatments to help this population manage their disease. But experts say that most cases of type two diabetes are completely preventable and should be treated with lifestyle changes and education. Prompting the question… why aren’t we doing more to prevent diabetes?
Diabetes Drugs and Supplies are Big Business
The number of diabetics worldwide is more than 230 million, roughly eight times the size it was in 1985, reports the Toronto Star, and pharmaceutical companies are fighting it out for a slice of the diabetes pie. Analyst Les Funtleyder is quoted by Star reporter Linda Johnson as saying, “Why wouldn’t you get in? It’s a big market, it’s a chronic market and there’s unmet need.”
Diabetes drugs are big business, and that’s not good news. Like any other pharmaceutical drug, diabetes medications – especially the drugs for people who have not responded to the normal drugs or to exercise – can have some pretty shocking side effects, from weight gain to kidney, liver, and heart failure.
Yet according to several studies published since 2001, as many as 91% of diabetes cases may be completely preventable – and curable – with simple lifestyle changes.
Is Diabetes a Disease, a Condition, or Completely Preventable?
A study found that obesity was the most important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes, with a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, tobacco and alcohol use almost as significant. If it is lifestyle choices like exercise and eating habits that create most cases of adult onset diabetes – a well-known fact – then it begins to make both more and less sense that the number of people afflicted with diabetes continues to grow.
It makes more sense because we are a society of hurried consumers who don’t often take responsibility for our daily choices – especially those that affect our health in the long run – but less sense, because it is such a preventable and treatable condition.
Some experts even contest the terminology of calling type 2 diabetes a “disease,” given that it is almost completely caused by lifestyle and eating habits.
New Research Links Depression, Belly Fat, and Diabetes
In addition to diet and activity, depression has been found to have an effect on the development and treatment of diabetes. Diabetics may have twice the normal risk for depression, and depression can increase insulin resistance (a red flag in diabetes).
New research suggests that it may be the link between stress hormones and belly fat that is responsible for more insulin resistance among people who are depressed – which only highlights the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, two major factors that combat both depression and diabetes. Healthy eating and activity affect mood, blood sugar levels, and weight loss.
So while drug companies spin their wheels promoting new drugs with ever-evolving lists of side effects, sensible type 2 diabetics could do worse than to ignore all the hype for the drugs and diabetes testing supplies in favor of getting outside, getting active, and educating themselves on how to prevent illness with a healthy diet.