I saw a popular show on cable TV called, “Pawn Stars”. This show is about a three-generation family business in Las Vegas, NV, a pawn shop that sees some very interesting and bizarre items. As you may know, none of these gentlemen, (grandfather, son and grandson) seem to be starving, as evidenced by the bigger sized black work shirts they wear on the show. One of the sons, Corey Harrison, recently took his weight problem seriously and decided to do something about it. Corey was diagnosed by his doctor as “pre-diabetic” and he weighed 365 pounds.

Corey opted for the increasingly popular lap-band surgery to aid in his weight reduction. Lap-band surgery has proven successful for Corey, who embraced a new diet and exercise program as well. It’s the exercise and dietary changes -made for the rest of his life after the procedure- that will improve Corey’s long term health. 

Now, of course you don’t need any procedure done by a doctor in order to start your own lifestyle changes, but these small, daily adjustments are just as likely to save your life in the long run as any procedure ever could.

Let’s talk today about diabetes mellitus: what it is, what causes it, what life-changing damage it can cause to your feet and other body parts, and the one simple way to treat it and possibly prevent it altogether.

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is split into Type 1 and Type 2, but both are characterized by high levels of glucose (“sugar”) in the blood. In Type 1 DM (usually onset at a younger age), genetics and other factors cause your body to make antibodies to certain cells in the pancreas that normally make insulin. These antibodies start to destroy the pancreatic cells, and therefore less insulin is able to be made. One of insulin’s normal functions is to push glucose from your blood into your muscle and other tissue to be used as a source of energy. Therefore without insulin from the pancreas, the glucose just stays in the blood, causing high blood sugar.

Type 2 DM (adult onset) is typically related to obesity, lack of exercise, and a diet high in fats and sugars. The increased body fat causes the muscles and other tissue to be resistant to insulin, therefore keeping the glucose in your blood and causing high blood sugar. Increased body weight also leads to pancreatic dysfunction, therefore decreasing the amount of insulin secreted and also leading to high blood sugar. Type 2 DM is also associated with other factors such hypertension, (high blood pressure), high cholesterol/triglycerides and increased abdominal fat.

When the blood sugar reaches high enough levels, glucose starts spilling over into the urine (most glucose is usually reabsorbed by your body and not excreted), which causes more water to be pulled out of the body and into the urine, leading to an increase in the frequency of urination and increased thirst. Pre-diabetes is when your fasting blood sugar (as measured by blood from a finger stick) is above normal (normal is <100 mg/dl and pre-diabetes is 100-125 mg/dl) but not high enough to be technically diagnosed as diabetes. Without a significant weight loss with diet and exercise, someone diagnosed as pre-diabetic is very likely to progress to Type 2 DM within 10 years, with the early beginning of damage caused by Diabetes Mellitus.

Tune in next week to find out exactly what parts of your body (hint: you’ve been walking on one of the most at-risk body parts since you were about 1 year old) are at risk to be damaged and the best thing you can do to ensure your own health!

Rion A. Berg, DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon

Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City
2611 NE 125th, Ste 130
Seattle, WA 98125

Centrally Located in Northeast Seattle
Our office is located in Lake City within 10 minutes of Shoreline, Kenmore, Juanita, Sandpoint, Meadowbrook, Wedgewood, Maple Leaf, Broadview, Greenwood, Northgate, and Pinehurst. Parking is free.

Click here to request an appointment or call 206.368.7000.


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