About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Basics Have Changed
In the past few years, much of what we thought we knew about diabetes has been turned on its head. What is now coming into focus is an understanding of its fundamental causes, and that gives us power we never had before.
To make sure we are at the same starting point, let me walk you through the basics: symptoms, diabetes types, and typical treatments as they are currently used. Then I will show you what’s new.
HOW DO WE KNOW IT’S DIABETES?
First, let’s make sense of the symptoms. Diabetes may arrive with no symptoms at all, but often it starts with fatigue. For no apparent reason, your spark is just no longer there. It may also seem that you are losing water more rapidly than you should be, which is to say that you make trips to the bathroom more often than usual. And you are thirsty: You find yourself drinking a surprising amount of water.
Here is what is going on: The fundamental problem is that sugar is not able to pass from your bloodstream into the cells of your body. From that single problem come a great many others, like one domino knocking over another and another and another.
The sugar we are speaking of is glucose–one of the smallest and simplest sugar molecules. In this case, sugar is not just another word for junk food or empty calories. The fact is that the cells of your body use this kind of sugar–glucose–as an energy source. Like gasoline for your car or jet fuel for an airplane, glucose is your body’s fuel. It powers your movements, your thoughts, and more or less everything you do.
And that is exactly the problem. If glucose is unable to enter your cells, they are deprived of their basic fuel, so you lose your energy. That is why you are fatigued. If your muscles do not have the glucose they need for power, you tire easily.
Meanwhile, the glucose that cannot get into your muscle cells builds up in your bloodstream. It becomes more and more concentrated in the blood, and eventually it starts to pass through the kidneys and ends up in your urine.*
Now, as glucose passes through your kidneys, it carries water along with it- -lots of water, hence all those trips to the bathroom. What follows, naturally, is thirst–you are losing all those fluids. So fatigue, frequent urination, and thirst are all symptoms of one problem: glucose having trouble getting into your cells.
You may also find that you are losing weight. And no, this is not an especially welcome event–not in this situation. You lose weight because your cells are in essence starving. Nutrients cannot enter your cells, so your body is malnourished. Yes, even if you are eating plenty of food, nutrients and fuel are unable to get where they are needed.
Every day, people arrive at doctors’ offices complaining of fatigue, frequent urination, thirst, and sometimes unexplained weight loss. The doctor takes a blood sample, finds an unusually high level of glucose in the blood, and diagnoses diabetes. The doctor then advises the patient that it is essential to get blood sugar under control. An overly large amount of glucose flooding through the bloodstream day after day can harm the arteries. Left unchecked, it can damage the heart and the delicate blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys, and extremities.
But as we have shown in our research studies, the road to high blood sugar is a two-way street. When you change your diet and make other healthful improvements, a rising glucose level can fall. Sometimes the change can be so dramatic that no doctor looking at you afterward would ever guess that you had once been diagnosed with diabetes.
* The passage of glucose from the bloodstream into the urine led to the technical name doctors use for diabetes: diabetes mellitus. Diabetes comes from a Greek word meaning “to pass through,” and mellitus is the Latin word for “honey” or “sweet.”
There are no reviews yet.