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Is your doctor letting you develop diabetes?

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The headline read, “Doctors aren’t diagnosing or treating most cases of prediabetes, UF study finds.” Are you surprised? I’m not.

I’m just a health writer, but there are a few doctors out there — those truly dedicated to healing — that realize that the majority of conventional doctors are not in the business of stopping disease. It is, after all, what brings home their bacon.

Back to the headline…

Sadly, the study that sparked the troubling headline, found that less than one-quarter of patients who met the criteria for prediabetes received drug or lifestyle modification treatment from their primary care physician. That means these people are unknowingly missing a window of opportunity to prevent a disease progression that could ultimately end their lives prematurely. People with prediabetes have a greater risk of vascular problems, kidney disease, and nerve and retinal damage. Full-fledged type 2 diabetes itself comes with its own long list of dangers — even worse.

“We know that prediabetes is considered one of the biggest risk factors for the development of diabetes, with estimates ranging from 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes developing diabetes within five years,” said lead investigator Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., chair of the department of health services research, management and policy in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, part of UF Health. “We also know that 90 percent of people who have prediabetes don’t know they have it. So the question becomes where is the doctor in all this? Is the doctor identifying people with prediabetes, telling them about it and providing treatment? That’s what we wanted to find out.”

I think the doctors are out to lunch. Considering that diabetes is one of the most easily preventable diseases, starting with dietary habits and exercise, what these doctors are doing is tantamount to breaking their Hippocratic Oath, especially the part that reads, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”

How to prevent prediabetes

Dr. Michael Cutler, editor of Easy Health Options and a practicing physician, had this to offer…

“Don’t expect your healthcare provider to know very much about dietary ways to control your blood glucose. Standard medical school training in nutrition totals only about one hour.

“Your doctor’s dietary instructions will stress the importance of eating one lean meat portion the size of your palm each day, and that you must be careful with foods high in refined sugar, white flour and white rice. Emphasis will be on deciding how much medication (or insulin) to use according to your blood sugar values, with the aim of keeping your blood sugar in control. You will likely not be told cleansing and dietary strategies to reverse the metabolic dysfunction causing your diabetes.”

What should the doctors — the ones in the study that are letting their patients down — be doing instead to treat prediabetes?

Start with your diet

The foods you’re offered today as part of the American diet put you at risk for prediabetes and diabetes, plain and simple. It’s getting so bad that 1 out of three of us can now be considered if not diabetic then pre-diabetic.

One way to help control blood sugar levels is by choosing foods with low glycemic numbers. The Glycemic Index (GI) measures the amount of sugar in food. Foods with low glycemic numbers like whole grain bread, vegetables and fruits, help normalize your blood sugar. They can also help stabilize your metabolism so you burn body fat and keep your appetite in check.

Foods with very high GIs send blood sugar and insulin levels off the charts. The extra insulin eventually causes blood sugar to drop quickly — and leaves you feeling dizzy, shaky, tired and hungry for more sugar.

Regular exercise can help you control your weight and normalize blood sugar levels. As your muscles contract during exercise, they use sugar for energy. This can help rid your body of excess sugar before it can damage your health.

According to Dr. Cutler, type 2 diabetes is preventable, even with a family history. You can learn more about how to avoid this completely avoidable disease in Dr. Cutler’s book, Forbidden Secrets from Nature’s Pharmacy to Reverse Diabetes and Blood Sugar Problems. Click here to get it today for just $9.95.

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