Is “Sugar” Sneaking Up On You?

“How can I have” diabetes’? I have no symptoms.” That’s what my patient told me after her blood tests revealed she had diabetes.

Surprisingly, diabetes does often “sneak up” on people. That’s particularly tragic to see because it’s completely preventable and usually exists as prediabetes for years or even decades.

Prediabetes though, is often a silent condition with no symptoms. And here’s something else you may not realize: prediabetes is not just the precursor to the full-blown disease. It’s a real threat to your health – even if you never develop the disease itself.

In today’s Health Alert, I’ll show you how to put a stop to diabetes before it starts. With a bit of insight and determination, you’ll be able to avoid one of our nation’s greatest health threats.

Prediabetes is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is too high. But looking at this as a disease of blood sugar doesn’t address the real cause. The root of the problem is an over production of the hormone insulin. This is your body’s response to carbohydrate in your diet.

What we call “prediabetes,” is your ticket to a lifetime of feeling fat, tired and fatigued. Also known as “syndrome X,” this increase in insulin burns out your pancreas and eventual raises your blood sugar and creates the core risk for obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

6 million Americans have type-II diabetes but don’t know it.(1) When it comes to syndrome X, the numbers are even higher. 41 million are prediabetic – a vast majority living their lives with no idea of the risk they’re facing.

Having overly high blood sugar – in the prediabetic range – puts you at 50 percent greater risk of both heart disease and stroke.(2) Another recent study of over a million people found that just being prediabetic increases your risk of developing several types of cancer.

I recommend a simple blood test. But you must ask your doctor to test your insulin level. Testing for high blood sugar will only tell you when the situation is already out of control. Normal insulin in the population is from 7 to 17 but I like to see fasting insulin levels down at the lower end of that range, preferably below 10.

The 3 Simple Steps for Reversing Prediabetes

There are 3 simple steps you can take to reduce – and even remove the risk of diabetes. Here are the techniques I use with my own patients:

Exercise – Aside from all of its other health benefits, exercise produces amazing results for prediabetics and diabetics alike. Over the years, I’ve helped dozens of my patients restore their health and control their blood sugar through interval training. For more information about my own exercise program – PACE® – read Health Alerts 58 and 270. You can see real results in as little as 12 minutes a day, 3 to 5 times a week.

Diet – My number one recommendation to prediabetics is to eat whole foods and stay away from anything that’s processed. These modern “conveniences” are packed with refined carbs – as well as trans fats and other artificial ingredients that cause insulin resistance.

Supplements – To help you control your blood sugar, several supplements can help. Here are my favorites:

  • Fish Oil – Maintaining your levels of omega-3 fatty acids is essential. Start with 1 tablespoon a day.

  • Calcium and Magnesium – These help to maintain insulin sensitivity. Try 1,500mg of calcium and 500mcg of magnesium daily.

  • Chromium Picolinate – This helps insulin transfer blood sugar to your cells. To start, I recommend 400mcg per day. In my clinic, I sometimes prescribe up to 1,500mcg per day in divided doses for patients with high insulin levels.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

(1) Neergaard L. Type 2 Diabetics Battle Blood Sugar Woes. Associated Press. May 19, 2005

(2) Delahanty LM, Nathan DM. Beating Diabetes. McGraw-Hill, May 2005.