Ask An Expert: Can A Three-year Smoker Become As Healthy As A Lifelong Nonsmoker?
Ask an Expert: Can a three-year smoker become as healthy as a lifelong nonsmoker? Ask an Expert: Can a three-year smoker become as healthy as a lifelong nonsmoker? Q: Im 23 years old, and the thing I regret most is putting that first cigarette in my mouth. Ive been smoking for three years, 18 to 25 cigarettes a day. Today, I decided to quit. In three years of smoking, how much did I damage my body? Is there any chance of becoming as healthy as a lifelong nonsmoker? Answer provided by Rachel E. Sanborn, M.D. , thoracic oncologist, Providence Cancer Center , and co-director of the Providence Thoracic Oncology Program Congratulations on making the decision to quit smoking! Most people who start smoking have no idea how many aspects of their health can be affected by smoking, and how quickly and easily they can become addicted. So, how much damage has been done? This is difficult to answer with any specifics, because most of the data we have on smoking is based on long-term smokers, and every persons situation is unique. However, we do know that any amount of smoking even just breathing someone elses cigarette smoke causes harm. My surgical co-director at the Providence Thoracic Oncology Program a program that specializes in treating people with lung cancer wrote an excellent answer to another persons question about the harm caused by smoking just one cigarette . It should give you a good idea of the potential harm that may have occurred during your three years of smoking. Once you quit, can you ever become as healthy as a lifelong smoker? Not quite, perhaps, but close. Again, we dont have statistics comparing three-year smokers to people who have never smoked. But computer models estimate that if a person quits after only a few years of smoking, the risk of dying from a t Continue reading >>
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Type 2 Diabetes
Print Overview Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body's important source of fuel. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren't enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy. Symptoms Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. Look for: Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar building up in your bloodstream causes fluid to be pulled from the tissues. This may leave you thirsty. As a result, you may drink — and urinate — more than usual. Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers intense hunger. Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to metabolize glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is released in the urine. Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable. Blurred vision. If your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus. Slow-healing sores o Continue reading >>
12 Things That Make Type 2 Diabetes More Likely
You're more likely to get type 2 diabetes if: 1. Diabetes runs in your family. If you have a parent, brother, or sister who has it, your chances rise. But you can take action through everyday lifestyle habits, like exercise and healthy eating, to lower your odds of following in their footsteps. 2. You have prediabetes. That means your blood sugar level is above normal but you don't have the disease yet. To keep it that way, get more active and lose any extra weight. Your doctor may recommend you take the prescription drug metformin. 3. You're not physically active. It's never too late to change that. Check in with your doctor first, so you know what's safe for you to do. 4. You're overweight, especially around your waist. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight, but extra pounds make you more likely to get the condition. Belly fat seems to be particularly risky. 5. You've had heart disease. 6. You have high blood pressure. 7. Your "good" cholesterol level is low. It's too low if it's less than 40 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). 8. Your triglyceride level is high. It's too high if it's over 150 mg/dL. 9. You've had diabetes during pregnancy before. That condition (called gestational diabetes) or delivering a baby over 9 pounds can make you more likely to get type 2 diabetes. 10. You're a woman who has PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). 11. You're age 45 or older. The chance of getting type 2 diabetes rises with age. But diabetes isn't a normal part of aging. 12. You're Hispanic, African-American, Native American, or Asian American. Diabetes is more common among these groups. Talk with your doctor to get a better sense of your risk. He can help you make a plan that will keep you in good health. Continue reading >>
Can I Develop Diabetes Even If I Exercise And Eat A Healthy Diet?
Can I develop diabetes even if I exercise and eat a healthy diet? Dr. Jack Merendino, MD on behalf of The Best Life The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Genetics is the largest factor affecting whether you are going to develop diabetes. If you have a very strong family history of diabetes, it may be difficult for you to prevent the development of diabetes altogether. The second major risk factor, of course, is obesity. Diabetes may also be triggered by taking certain medications, especially anti-inflammatory steroids like prednisone or dexamethasone. These drugs are used to treat many autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, including many forms of arthritis, asthma and other conditions. Maintaining a normal body weight, eating right and exercising regularly will help delay the development of the diabetes, even in someone who has a strong hereditary tendency for the disease. For example, someone who is genetically programmed to develop diabetes at a normal body weight when he is, say, age 65, might develop diabetes at 45 if he is substantially overweight. So exercise and proper diet will help prevent the development of diabetes as early as it otherwise would occur. Continue reading >>
Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?
Type 2 diabetes is a serious, long-term medical condition. It develops mostly in adults but is becoming more common in children as obesity rates rise across all age groups. Several factors contribute to type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor. Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening. But if treated carefully, it can be managed or even reversed. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. When your blood sugar (glucose) levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin. This causes sugar to move from your blood to your cells, where it can be used as an energy source. As glucose levels in your blood go back down, your pancreas stops releasing insulin. Type 2 diabetes impacts how you metabolize sugar. Either your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body has become resistant to its effects. This causes glucose to build up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia. There are several symptoms of untreated type 2 diabetes, including: excessive thirst and urination fatigue increased hunger weight loss, in spite of eating more infections that heal slowly blurry vision dark patches on the skin Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes monitoring your blood sugar levels and using medications or insulin when needed. Doctors also recommend losing weight through diet and exercise. Some diabetes medications have weight loss as a side effect, which can also help reverse diabetes. If you start eating healthier, get more exercise, and lose weight, you can reduce your symptoms. Research shows that these lifestyle changes, especially physical activity, can even reverse the course of the condition. Studies that show the reversal of type 2 diabetes include participants who have lived with the condition for only a few years. Weight loss is the primary fact Continue reading >>
Adults Can Get Type 1 Diabetes, Too
Type 1 diabetes used to be called "juvenile diabetes," because it's usually diagnosed in children and teens. But don't let that old-school name fool you. It can start when you're a grownup, too. Many of the symptoms are similar to type 2 diabetes, so it's sometimes tricky to know which kind you've got. But it's important to learn the differences and figure out what's going on so you can get the treatment that's right for you. Causes Doctors aren't sure exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. They believe your genes may play a role. Researchers are also checking to see if there are things that trigger the disease, like your diet or a virus that you caught. What experts do know is that when you have type 1 diabetes, something goes wrong with your immune system -- the body's defense against germs. It destroys beta cells in your pancreas that are responsible for making a hormone called insulin. Insulin allows glucose -- or sugar -- to get into your cells, where it's turned into energy. But if you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn't make insulin. Glucose builds up in your bloodstream and, over time, can cause serious health problems. Symptoms If you have type 1 diabetes, you may get similar symptoms as your friends who have type 2. You may notice that you: Get extremely thirsty or hungry Need to pee often Feel unusually tired or weak Lose weight suddenly Get blurred vision or other changes in the way you see Get vaginal yeast infections Have breath that smells fruity Can't breathe well Sometimes, type 1 diabetes could even make you lose consciousness. Who's Most Likely to Get It as an Adult? People of all races and ethnic groups can get type 1 diabetes, but it's most common among those of northern European descent. *CGM-based treatment requires fingersticks for calibration, Continue reading >>
Type 2 Diabetes In Women: Young, Slim, And Diabetic
Type 2 Diabetes in Women: Young, Slim, and Diabetic Type 2 diabetes is threatening a new group of people: seemingly fit women. Stephanie Yi, 29, had a body most women would kill for. She never had to work hard to maintain her long-limbed, flat-bellied frameweekend hikes near her northern California home and lots of spinach salads did the trick. She could easily afford to indulge her sweet tooth with the occasional buttery, sugary snack. At 5'7" and 120 pounds, she had, she figured, hit the good-genes jackpot. But everything changed two years ago, when a crippling fatigue left her sidelined from college classes. Listless, she dragged herself to a doctor, who suspected a thyroid imbalance. A blood test and a few days later, she received the alarming results: Her thyroid was fine; her blood sugar levels were not. She was prediabetic and on the cusp of developing type 2. Stephanie was stunned. Of course, she'd heard diabetes was a health crisis. (At last count, 26 million Americans had the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) But weren't type 2 diabetics fat, sedentary, and on junk-food-and-soda diets? Stephanie hadn't been to a drive-through in ages; she didn't touch meat. Yet, somehow, she'd gotten an illness most slim women dodge. The CDC estimates that one in nine adults has diabetes and, if current trends continue, one in three will be diabetic by the year 2050. For decades, typical type 2 patients were close to what Stephanie pictured: heavy and inactive. They were also older, often receiving a diagnosis in middle age or beyond. But while such type 2 cases continue to skyrocket, there has been a disturbing increase in a much younger set. The number of diabetes-related hospitalizations among people in their thirties has doubled in the Continue reading >>
Print Overview Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes are very likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes — especially to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys — may already be starting. There's good news, however. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn't inevitable. Eating healthy foods, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar level back to normal. Prediabetes affects adults and children. The same lifestyle changes that can help prevent progression to diabetes in adults might also help bring children's blood sugar levels back to normal. Symptoms Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms. One possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. Affected areas can include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you've moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes include: Increased thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Blurred vision When to see a doctor See your doctor if you're concerned about diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Ask your doctor about blood glucose screening if you have any risk factors for prediabetes. Causes The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown. But family history and genetics appear to play an important role. Inactivity and excess fat — especially abdominal fat — also seem to be important factors. What is clear is that people with prediabetes don't process sugar (glucose) properly anymore. As a result, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead o Continue reading >>
Yes, Thin People Can Get Type 2 Diabetes
People assume that if youre skinny, youre healthypeople only get diabetes if theyre overweight or obese. Right? Well, no. No matter how thin you are, you can still get Type 2 diabetes . Diabetes isnt related to how you look, said Misty Duchnik, a dietitian and diabetes educator for Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton. Diabetes comes from insulin resistance, which causes high blood sugar. While about 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese, it happens to thin people as well. Right now, 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Of that, 12 percent of people with diabetes are normal weight. One reason that thin people get diabetes is because they are skinny fat. Also known as dad bod or mom bod, skinny fat refers to a slender body type with small amounts of visible fat. Skinny fat people tend to have a type of fat called visceral fat. Visceral fat grows around your organs instead of under your skin, so it isnt visible. If you have visceral fat, you may not look overweight, but you may still have as much fat as someone who is overweight. The medical term for skinny fat is MONW, which stands for metabolically obese, normal weight, said Duchnik. People who are MONW may look healthy but are at risk for conditions like diabetes. Along with visceral fat, here are some other factors that can lead to diabetes in thin people. Your diet is an important factor in your risk for diabetes. Even if youre thin, a poor diet can still result in visceral fat. Diets high in sugar and unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, can increase the amount of fat in your body, which can lead to diabetes, said Duchnik. Luckily, visceral fat is very responsive to diet and exercise. Eliminating processed, fried, sugary and fatty foods can help you lose visceral Continue reading >>
Why Thin People Get Diabetes
If you think only overweight men need to worry about diabetes, wake up. One in five normal-weight adults now has prediabetes, up 8 percent from 1994, finds new research from the University of Florida. Among adults over age 45 with BMIs under 25, one in three has high blood sugar, a double-digit jump in two decades. Left untreated, up to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop full-blown type 2 within five years. Why the sharp rise in this condition? The abundance of nutrient-void, sugar-packed processed foods is likely having some effect. However, “our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are playing a huge role,” says lead researcher Arch Mainous. “Many people now sit in front of a computer all day and get only minimal, if any, leisure-time exercise. They think that as long as their BMI is under 25, they’re healthy. But the scale gives a false sense of health.” According to Mainous, skimping on exercise is so metabolically harmful because it leads to a higher proportion of body fat than lean muscle mass. He says people with very little lean muscle tend to have low grip strength — and past research has linked low grip strength to heightened risk of prediabetes and diabetes. The easiest way to tell whether you’re potentially in trouble? “Just look in the mirror,” Mainous says. “If you look too soft, you are too soft.” When it comes to high blood sugar, surprisingly, total-body lean muscle mass matters more than even waist circumference, which is often blamed for metabolic health issues. “Many think metabolic syndrome is all about abdominal obesity,” Mainous says. “But we looked at waist circumference in our study, and it did not go up. Incidence of prediabetes did, so I don’t think abdominal obesity is the key.” Mainous believes do Continue reading >>
Slim And Healthy People Also Get Type 2 Diabetes
Overweight, an unhealthy lifestyle and old age are factors that many of us associate with people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. But this isn’t entirely true. In fact, the disease can hit the slim, the fat, the young and the old. This diversity of patients does not make life easy for doctors and researchers, as it creates a need for a great variety of treatment forms. For example, lifestyle changes only work for some patients and not for others. The ideal time for an insulin fix also varies greatly, depending on the patient. However, now two Danish researchers have cracked part of this code. Based on data from a comprehensive English study, they have identified three subgroups of type 2 diabetes patients that have different diseases patterns. In addition to showing that diabetes is expressed in a variety of ways, the study surprises by showing that only 25 percent of the type 2 diabetes patients follow the course of the disease that scientists so far have considered to be the most common one. ”This finding is the first step towards more targeted prevention and treatment for patients with the different subgroups of the disease,” says Kristine Færch, a senior researcher at the Steno Diabetes Center, who co-authored the study. Classification determined by blood sugar Insulin is the key ingredient when we’re talking about type 2 diabetes. Insulin is produced in the body and works by transporting the energy from our food into the cells, where the energy is used. Type 2 diabetes occurs either: As a result of insulin resistance, where the insulin gradually loses its ability to transport energy from food to the muscles. As a result of problems with the beta cells, which are those that produce or secrete insulin. It was previously believed that the most common c Continue reading >>
Can Thin People Get Type 2 Diabetes?
Almost 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, according to government statistics, and it's known that carrying excess weight ups your diabetes risk. The reason is that fat interferes with your ability to use insulin — insulin moves sugar (glucose) from your blood to your cells, which need the sugar for energy. But don't think you're off the hook if you're thin — you still can be at risk for type 2 diabetes, even if you're not heavy. The risk for developing type 2 diabetes may be smaller if you're thin, but it's still real, especially if you're older, says Christopher Case, MD, who specializes in endocrinology in Jefferson City, Mo. It's not known exactly how many thin or normal-weight people have type 2 diabetes, but part of that may be because there is no standard definition for "thin," Dr. Case says. "They may not look obese," Case says, but any excess weight, especially around the stomach, is a risk factor. One of the reasons people can have high blood sugar and develop diabetes whether they're thin or obese is because weight, though a contributing factor, is not the only factor. Type 2 Diabetes Could Be in Your Genes Genetics plays a role in developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that people who have a close relative (parent or sibling) with type 2 diabetes have a greater than three times higher risk of developing the disease than those with no family history, Case says. Genetics may explain why some people who are thin develop type 2 diabetes and why an obese person might not, he says. African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans also are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle Choices Raise Your Diabetes Risk These other risk factors, often associated with people who are overweight, can plague thin people, too Continue reading >>
Diabetes: What's True And False?
en espaolLa diabetes: Qu es cierto y qu es falso? If you're like most people with diabetes, you'll get all kinds of advice about it from friends and family or online. Some of this information is wrong. Here's the truth about some of the common things you might hear. Does eating too much sugar cause diabetes? No. Type 1 diabetes happens when cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed. This happens because something goes wrong with the body's immune system . It has nothing to do with how much sugar a person eats. Sugar doesn't cause diabetes. But there is one way that sugar can influence whether a person gets type 2 diabetes. Consuming too much sugar (or sugary foods and drinks) can make people put on weight. Gaining too much weight leads to type 2 diabetes in some people. Of course, eating too much sugar isn't the only cause of weight gain. Weight gain from eating too much of any food can make a person's chance of getting diabetes greater. Yes! You can have your cake and eat it too, just not the whole cake! Like everyone, people with diabetes should put the brakes on eating too many sweets. But you can still enjoy them sometimes. People with type 1 diabetes don't grow out of it. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin and won't make it again. People with type 1 diabetes will always need to take insulin, at least until scientists find a cure. People with type 2 diabetes will always have a tendency to get high blood sugar levels. But if they take steps to live a healthier life, it can sometimes lower their blood sugar. If people eat healthy foods and exercise enough to get their blood sugar levels back on track, doctors might say they can stop taking insulin or other medicines. Can you catch diabetes from a person who has it? No. Diabetes is not Continue reading >>
6 Changes You Can Make To Help Control Your Diabetes
Eat three meals a day, and try to space them out evenly. You should also shoot to have the same amount of carbs at each meal. In general, less-processed food is better. That's because it has a lower glycemic index, which means it may have less of an effect on your blood sugar. For example, oatmeal from whole oats has a lower glycemic index than instant oatmeal. If you have type 2 diabetes and follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, you could lose weight and improve your diabetes. One study found long-term weight loss through diet and exercise could lower your chances of having a stroke and dementia. If you're stressed, you may exercise less, drink more, and not watch your diabetes as closely. Stress can raise your blood sugar and make you less sensitive to insulin. When you're stressed, your body adopts a "fight or flight" response. That means it will make sure you have enough sugar and fat available for energy. Studies of people with type 1 diabetes found blood sugar levels go up for most people under mental stress and down for others. If you have type 2 diabetes and you're feeling pressure, your glucose will go up. If something has you bothered, try to make changes that can help you relax. You might exercise, spend time with friends, meditate, or replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Do whatever works for you. Support groups, counseling, or therapy can help, too. Kick the habit. It'll give you better control of your blood sugar levels. If you smoke, you're also more likely to have serious health problems as well as a higher chance for complications from diabetes. Those can include: Poor blood flow to the legs and feet, which could lead to infections, ulcers and amputation of your toes or feet Retinopathy, an eye disease that causes blindness Peripheral ne Continue reading >>
Think Skinny People Don’t Get Type 2 Diabetes? Think Again.
In the last article we discussed the complex relationship between body weight and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). We learned that although obesity is strongly associated with T2DM, a subset of “metabolically healthy obese” (MHO) people have normal blood sugar and insulin sensitivity and don’t ever develop diabetes. In this article we’re going to talk about the mirror reflection of the MHO: the “metabolically unhealthy nonobese” (MUN). These are lean people with either full-fledged type 2 diabetes or some metabolic dysfunction, such as insulin resistance. You might even be surprised to learn that skinny people can and do get T2DM. They are rarely mentioned in the media, and there isn’t much written about them in the scientific literature. Perhaps these folks have been overlooked because type 2 diabetes has been historically viewed as a disease of gluttony and sloth, a self-inflicted outcome of eating too much and not and not exercising enough. But the very existence of the MUN phenotype proves that there’s more to T2DM than overeating and a sedentary lifestyle. Remember that one in three type 2 diabetics are undiagnosed. It’s possible that a significant number of these people that are lean. They don’t suspect they might have T2DM because they’re under the impression that it’s not a condition that affects thin people. This is one of the biggest dangers of the myth that “only fat people get diabetes”. It’s well-known that high blood sugar can precede the development of T2DM for as long as ten years. It is during this time that many of the complications associated with diabetes – nerve damage, retinal changes, and early signs of kidney deterioration – begin to develop. This is why it’s just as important for lean people to maintain healthy blood s Continue reading >>