Signs of Diabetes / Prediabetes
An American Epidemic
Prediabetes, diabetes and associated obesity are epidemic, with more than half of Americans being overweight, 1/3 clinically obese. Diabetes and obesity or “diabesity” is no longer a disease that starts later in life, considering the staggering statistic that more than 10% of children ages 2-5 are now obese.
Causes of Diabetes
A diet high in simple sugars and refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes requires the pancreatic beta cells to make increasing amounts of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Over time the pancreas is not able to keep up with the demand, leading to an accumulation of glucose or sugar in the blood. This excess blood sugar is very damaging and contributes to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia, cancer, kidney failure, blindness, and impotence. It’s important to know that these risks are associated with BOTH prediabetes (also known as insulin resistance) and diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Symptoms of insulin resistance include fatigue, abdominal weight gain, acne, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fatty liver disease, sugar and carb cravings, scalp hair loss in women, skin tags, high blood pressure, swelling in the ankles, and difficulties concentrating. Patients also have elevated fasting blood sugar, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia (low HDL, high LDL, high triglycerides) and systemic inflammation.
Lifestyle and Standard of Care Contribute to Diabetes
Prediabetes, Diabetes, and Obesity have the same underlying causes and are preventable. While genetic predisposition is one factor, there are many with the genes that do not develop the diseases, suggesting that the environment and modern lifestyle choices play a significant role. Modern lifestyle choices contribute to systemic inflammation, which sets the stage for impaired fat and glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and eventually Type 2 diabetes. Also problematic is the current standard of care that focuses primarily on fasting blood sugar and HgA1c, which allows for diabetes to go undiagnosed until its later stages, often when there has already been organ damage.
Dr. Carlson focuses on the warning signs of insulin resistance and laboratory markers that are more sensitive for early detection, such as Adiponectin and OxLDL. Her routine evaluation also includes insulin levels, advanced lipid testing, inflammatory markers, and key nutrients in addition to HgA1c and fasting blood sugar.
Dr. Carlson’s treatment approach is very comprehensive and goes well beyond the standard recommendation to eat a low glycemic diet. The goal is to reduce the underlying sources of inflammation that are driving the metabolic processes. She helps you move towards a diet that is low in refined sugars and emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods. She spends the time to help educate you about food and nutrition and offers referrals to a health coach and nutritionist if you choose, understanding that dietary and lifestyle changes can be extremely challenging.
Dr. Carlson uses targeted natural medicines to help you overcome micronutrient deficiencies in a very personalized way. She also considers the role that environmental toxins such as Bisphenol A, pesticides, phthalates and heavy metals play in inflammation. Other chronic issues with stress, sleep, and lack of exercise are also addressed.
- Insulin Resistance