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July 22, 2011 > HealthCare... Who Cares?

HealthCare... Who Cares?

By J. Dennis Wolfe

In 1974, sitting in front of the owner of a reputable biochemical research firm in San Francisco, I felt confident that I had a chance at an intern position. Our mothers were friends and I was doing well in my chemistry classes. Then he asked the question that changed my career. "What do you see as the future in biochemical research?" I youthfully and smartly answered, "That's easy. By the turn of the century, diabetes will be pandemic in America."

He felt I was way out there and did not agree with my premise. The interview ended and the internship never materialized. After connecting the dots of battles I would have to fight to do the research I wanted to do, I changed my major to Finance and went into the health insurance business.

I share this story because last month an article appeared in a local Bay Area Newspaper with an egregious headline stating there was a cure found for diabetes. That is patently false. Worse, it badly misleads diabetics.

Let's talk about diabetes in simple terms that will provide understanding about this internally damaging condition.

Suppose you don't change the oil in your car's engine on a regular basis. Eventually, the oil will get very dirty. Ultimately it becomes sludge to the point where your engine simply quits. Before that, all internal parts in the engine - pistons, valves, crankshaft, camshaft, etc. - are working much harder. Most cars on the road today need gasoline to operate. What if you were only allowed one tank of fuel and were told that with proper care, this one tank of fuel would last your car's entire expected life? I bet care of the car would be excellent!

To understand Diabetes, think of your body as a car engine and internal organs as the parts of your engine - your heart, liver, lungs, circulatory/ nervous systems, etc. The non-refillable fuel tank in your body is your pancreas and it contains a genetically determined amount of insulin to be used throughout one's life.

We identify people who are born with no fuel in their tank as Type I Juvenile Diabetics. After years of not changing the oil regularly (think proper, nutritional eating), we identify people whose systems become sluggish later in life as Type 2 Adult Onset Diabetics. Regardless of which diagnosis of diabetes it only means one thing - the fuel tank (pancreas) is not working at optimum levels.

Insulin is what the body uses in its digestive cycle to help burn sugars which, in turn, give you energy. Diabetics should not eat refined sugars or large quantities of starches like bread, pasta, pizza, etc. These all send blood sugar levels skyrocketing, making you very sleepy or worse. As an aside, did you know you could be charged for driving under the influence if you drive with extremely high sugar levels in your blood?

If your pancreas is slowing down or has quit functioning altogether, then in addition to modern medications the only other way to avoid a diabetic state is to reduce the carbohydrates, fats and refined sugars that you put into it. Exercise alone doesn't end the condition but it is beneficial along with no smoking, no alcohol.

You cannot cure this condition. However, you can reduce the risk of diabetic complications such as neuropathy, heart disease, organ failure, amputation, etc., by controlling it. The more you know about diabetes the more you can help yourself, your loved ones and the medical team who treats you.

The best advice is to regularly change the oil in your car and choose the right foods to nourish your body. Both your car and your body will function better and serve you longer with less stress. It beats losing a foot, having a deadly heart attack or a disabling stroke.

Stay healthy. Stay tuned. Get involved. Learn what is being done. Your life now does indeed depend upon it.

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