How to Stop Prediabetes with Proper Diet and Exercise

dr. robert creighton stop prediabetes e-book coverCongratulations!  You have come across the introduction to my e-book “Stop Prediabetes: Eat S.A.F.E. and Don’t Be a Sea Squirt.” Have a look and please let me know what you think.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States has pre-diabetes, but less than 10% of these adults with pre-diabetes report being told they have this medical problem.

This condition, known as pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome, can lead to severe health issues. Why is the awareness of pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome so low? I see patients all day long with classic metabolic syndrome, yet none of them know that there even is such a thing, and that they meet the definition of this medical problem.

These patients have high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, and the vast majority have been prescribed a “statin” drug for irregular blood fat and cholesterol levels. If tested, I am fairly certain many of them would have glucose intolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity and increased insulin levels.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Metabolic syndrome is defined by at least three of the risk factors listed below:
• A large waistline. This is also called abdominal obesity. Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as the hips.
• A high triglyceride level (or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides). Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, and are commonly elevated in people who eat too much machine-made, boxed and processed carbohydrate foods.
• A low HDL cholesterol level (or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol). HDL sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for cardiovascular disease that obstructs circulation, not only to the heart, but to your feet and legs as well.
• High blood pressure (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure). Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque build-up.
• High fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

Does this sound like you?

Not only is pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome a major public health issue in its own right, but it can lead to full diabetes which, as many of you know, is also an exploding public health issue. We need to do better. To my healthcare professional colleagues of all stripes, I say, “All hands on deck!” Something is wrong and we as a country need to understand the problem and come up with solutions. Figure out what you can do to make even a small contribution to help curtail this devastating trend.

I am a medical specialist who plays a role in the metabolism of my patients by keeping them moving. Because of my role in maintaining movement, I feel compelled to speak out intelligently about the other side of the metabolic coin – food. I also became involved in the information resource blog from where you may have acquired this e-book – Nutrientology – for this purpose.

In this short e-book, I’m going to discuss the various aspects of food and movement on your health, including the health of your means of movement – your feet and legs. You will have the foundational knowledge necessary to stop the metabolism misery that is part of the pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome. You will learn how to improve and preserve the health and wellness of your whole body including the vital functional structures that promote health and longevity through their role in metabolism – your feet and legs.

When you consider the role of the feet and legs as the source of moving us from place to place, and the importance of movement in virtually all aspects of health, you will quickly realize that the feet and legs are not only the physical foundation supporting the human body, but they are also an important and integral part of your health. As you will learn, without the movement associated with healthy lower limbs, health deteriorates quite rapidly. As you age, establishing and living a lifestyle that involves regular movement, and the development of good nutrition habits, can forestall the deteriorating health of your body including your all-important lower limbs.

Consider the role of the feet and legs in moving us from place to place, and the importance of movement in virtually all aspects of health, including the regulation of your metabolism. You will quickly realize that the feet and legs are not only the physical foundation of support for the human body, they are also an important and integral part of your metabolism through their role in movement and locomotion. The contracting muscles of the legs release hormone-like signals that work to regulate and manage your metabolism. Without the movement associated with healthy lower limbs, health deteriorates quite rapidly. Movement is intricately associated with your health and metabolism. Food and movement are two sides of the same metabolic coin. You need to pay attention to both – Use both to stop pre-diabetes and repair your injured metabolism.

Most people understand the connection between body weight and physical stress on bones and joints, but high blood pressure, along with unhealthy blood sugar and fat levels lead to many problems in the feet and legs – Decreased circulation and nerve damage are only two of the many examples. The effect of having strong functional feet and legs provide a tremendous benefit to your circulation, nerves, muscles, bones, joints and your metabolism improving your health to stop prediabetes.

Functional feet and strong, moving, contracting leg muscles are essential to good health. The feet and legs are your heart’s “executive assistant.” Contracting leg muscles pump blood from the great veins of your legs back to your heart – most people don’t know that their legs and heart work together. We are also learning that moving contracting leg muscles send out hormone-like signals that “talk” to other parts of your body to regulate your health, including your metabolism. It is the all-important feet and legs that play a major role in regulating and maintaining the overall health of your body through their part in moving us from place to place throughout your life. Strong, healthy, moving feet and legs will promote a more youthful, functional and independent aging that will give you the vitality and self-confidence allowing you to age gracefully.

Doctors who specialize in the foot and ankle know all too well how America’s pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and obesity epidemics have impacted our nation’s health. We see manifestations of it every day. Because of this, along with our unique position as keepers of the structures necessary for movement, I believe our role in this epidemic could and should be more formally expanded.

In my more than 20 years in practice I’ve seen changes in my patient population. More and more pre-diabetic, overweight and metabolic syndrome patients have been presenting for treatment of mechanically based weight-related stress and strain problems. Even more urgent, they have “invisible problems” such as nerve damage from borderline-high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance that makes up metabolic syndrome; Disease of the circulation, especially the small cells that line the blood vessels; Another problem associated with poor blood sugar control that I’ve seen more often in recent years is gout. Gout is a type of arthritic inflammation that often affects the feet, particularly the big toe. It is a metabolic problem caused by increased levels of uric acid in the blood that has been associated with metabolic syndrome prediabetes.

Patients will often tell me that they are not “diabetic,” but upon further questioning they usually recall that they were told that they had a borderline high blood sugar level in the past. Ladies and gentleman, there are a lot of people walking around with borderline elevated blood sugars that are wreaking havoc on their health and they don’t even know it.  As these patients get older, they are looking at possible chronic foot ulceration, decreased blood flow to the feet and legs possibly requiring surgery either to improve the blood flow, or to remove part of their foot or leg.

Unfortunately many of the pre-diabetic readers of this book will progress to full diabetes, and be even more vulnerable to the foot and leg disease that I see on a daily basis. This leads to a decreased ability to move which further deteriorates and degrades your metabolism – It’s a vicious circle. Diabetics often lose strength in their leg muscles sooner than others as they age. This means weakness, lack of movement and a higher risk of falling and experiencing a life-changing injury, if not death.

The terms “diet” and “exercise” often create anxiety, and in many cases for good reason. So much confusion surrounds these relatively abstract words that people do not know exactly what they mean any more. I prefer to talk about “food” and “movement.” These are simple terms that we understand and use on a daily basis.

They are both an integral part of a healthy metabolism. As I said, food and movement are two sides of the same metabolic coin. Movement is essential to life and living. We are designed for movement. We are meant to move. Movement is intricately associated with your health. You have heard the saying, “use it or lose it.” This saying is based on the fact that your body is internally designed to be moved.

In an attempt to arrive at a starting point in addressing the question of how to integrate healthy food and movement into your daily life, I will start from a pre-historic perspective. How did we humans eat as we developed as a species? From contemporary anthropology, we can learn about cultures that have not been subject to the environmental separation and industrialization of our food sources that have taken place in contemporary times.

The best approach I’ve found is to pursue a diet and lifestyle that is foundationally consistent with the one we humans have followed for the past 1-2 million years or so, a diet that emphasizes abundant healthy plant foods, some fresh meat, and plenty of movement. This is not a fad approach; as a matter of fact given that it was followed for 1-2 million years doesn’t that make it “anti-fad”?

This is a scientific approach that makes sense to me as long as it is not carried too far. Such a plan should be expanded and adapted for what is “best” for contemporary humans now, in the early 21st century. We no longer live in the pre-historic era, but we need to merge our contemporary times with our pre-historic genetic foundation. Unfortunately, if there is not an appropriate merger of science and practicality, any dietary approach, no matter how scientifically grounded, will fail.

I want to say right at the outset that I’m well aware of the psychosocial implications that often go along with a discussion of food and movement. Many people who have pre-diabetes or are overweight have been stigmatized by society. There is a perception that the overweight are afflicted with gluttony, laziness, or lack of willpower, and this is the reason for their condition.

While this may be true in some cases, and there are genetic considerations in others, I believe that the current pre-diabetes, diabetes and obesity epidemics are much more involved than this. Something has occurred in Western society, especially over the past 50 years, which has had a profound impact on the metabolic health of Americans. America is metabolically dysfunctional, and it’s not because we are gluttonous, slothful, or in need of more willpower. To the contrary, we are a generous, industrious and creative society that, when given proper information and motivation, will impact the world for the better like no other contemporary culture. Let’s figure this thing out and get to work creating change one person at a time, starting with you.

The answer to the problem of pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome is not as simple as, “We’re eating too many calories,” although that is likely part of the problem. Something is occurring physiologically that is changing the metabolism of many people. We as a society need to look at the food we’re eating. Food has a powerful impact on our bodies.

When thinking about food and what is best for your health and metabolism, use common sense. You need to start following the principles outlined in this short e-book right now. Think about how you are eating and make changes now to stop pre-diabetes and the potentially devastating consequences of this disease that I see on a daily basis.

Proper food is a big part of the “medicine” that the pre-diabetic population needs to pay strict attention to if we are going to even begin to turn this “epidemiological aircraft carrier” around. Unfortunately, when it comes to change, the government reaction will be slow, behind the curve and influenced by the powerful and well-funded food lobbies. It’s important for each individual to act now.

Food manufacturers market like there is no tomorrow, but no one can force feed you. Only you can decide what to put in your mouth. Oh, and by the way, food companies are using your own biology against you. Thanks to their research, they know how to make you crave, but you have the power. You have a prefrontal cortex, a free will, a brain…you are not a sea squirt…Read on.

If you want to get the entire e-book, sign up to get a copy.  Please let me know what you think.

 

 

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About Robert Creighton

Dr. Creighton is a podiatrist and foot surgeon with over 26 years in podiatric practice treating thousands of patients afflicted with the physiological, physical, and psychological side effects and complications of diabetes and pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome. He believes these disorders present a pressing public health concern that need to be more actively addressed in a multidisciplinary way. Dr. Creighton graduated from what is now the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine after receiving his undergraduate degree in Biology. He is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, a member of the American Public Health Association, an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and a Member of the American Nutrition Association.

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