diabetes functional medicineAccording to a study published 3 days ago in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, less than 25% of patients who met the criteria for prediabetes received lifestyle recommendations from their primary care physician. This is a huge missed opportunity for the overall health of the patient, diabetes prevention, and decreasing future health care costs.
Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are a significant health care problem in the United States. Over one-third of the population has prediabetes. This is the most important time to take action and educate these individuals on diet, lifestyle, and exercise. Prediabetes is considered one of the biggest risk factors for the development of diabetes. Approximately 30% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes within five years we play the wait and see game and do not make dietary and lifestyle interventions.

Researchers from the University of Florida analyzed data from the 2012 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. About 34% of the patients had a HA1c level between 5.7 and 6.4. Of these patients, only a few were told they even had prediabetes, and only 23% received treatment for their issue (lifestyle modification counseling or medication).
Low rates of prediabetes diagnosis and treatment would be expected if doctors don’t have lab results available, but those in this study all had recent lab tests. Even with the results in front of them, doctors were not acknowledging prediabetes in their patients or providing any type of management or treatment.

Insulin resistance is preventable and reversible through lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, supplements, exercise and stress management. Weight loss and exercise are considered the best treatments for restoring the body’s ability to respond to insulin. Losing even a few pounds can reduce the risk for health problems and help control glucose levels.

Exercise can help prevent diabetes by lowering your blood sugar and reducing weight. It also helps the cells become more sensitive to insulin.

In addition, it is important to watch carbohydrate intake. Consume a diet that is high in fiber and low in sugars and flour with a low glycemic load. Previous research has indicated that insulin resistance has a microbial component that alters the caloric extraction from ingested food. This ties together the importance of dietary fiber and insulin resistance. We also see this with short chain fatty acids (SCFA) on patient stool profiles. Low levels of SCFAs tend to be associated with low levels of beneficial bacteria. When patients introduce pre-biotics or increase their dietary fiber intake by consuming fruits and vegetables, the beneficial bacteria and SCFAs both increase.

Healthy, whole foods help prevent and reverse diabetes and insulin resistance. A healthy diet turns on the right gene messages, promotes a healthy metabolism, and prevents insulin resistance and diabetes.

In addition, there are several nutrients that can play a role in improving insulin signaling such as chromium, zinc, carnosine, benfotiamine, alpha lipoic acid, and inositol.

The key to diabetes prevention is properly educating these individual with prediabetes on the proper diet and lifestyle modifications. We don’t want to manage half the population with diabetes but prevent them from getting diabetes.

Source: Arch G. Mainous III, PhD, Rebecca J. Tanner, MA and Richard Baker, MD. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. March 8, 2016. DOI.10.3122/jabfm.2016.02.150252

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