Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome [video]

Video author: Streaming Well
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Video Transcript
Toxic Waist: Diabetes and The Metabolic Syndrome

Dr Derrick Cutting, General Practitioner: Did you know that diabetes is preventable? And there are steps that you can take to lower your risk of developing diabetes. There are actually 2 types of diabetes. Type 1 generally occurs in children and young people when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, but we still don't really know what causes it. Type 2 diabetes is different. This is the type that is affecting people on an epidemic scale. Type 2 diabetes is largely caused by obesity, in particular, fat around the tummy.

What happens is that cells in your body become less responsive to insulin produced by your pancreas and therefore less able to take up the sugar in your blood. Your pancreas then has to work harder to produce enough insulin to lower your blood sugar levels. Eventually, the pancreas can't keep up, and your insulin and blood sugar become unbalanced. Type 2 diabetes doesn't come on suddenly. Before developing diabetes, you will have features of the metabolic syndrome, also known as pre-diabetes. This describes a combination of excess abdominal fat, raised blood pressure, reduced insulin sensitivity, and unbalanced blood fats.

At this point, your blood sugar is above normal but below diabetic levels. You might notice yourself getting more thirsty and needing to pee more, but lots of people develop type 2 diabetes without knowing it. Untreated diabetes is extremely dangerous. It's very bad for the arteries and can cause serious heart disease, eye problems, strokes, and reduction in blood flow to the small blood vessels, which can even lead to amputation.

The most amazing thing is, not only is it preventable, it's actually reversible. With the right combination of exercise and diet, some people who develop type 2 diabetes can get rid of the disease. That's pretty radical stuff. For years the view was that once you got diabetes, you had it for life, but the problem is the high fat and high calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles that many of us lead.

Now I've called this progression into diabetes through the metabolic syndrome, the diabolic slide. Many of us are hurtling down the slide towards diabetes and heart disease. The good news is that you can get off the slide. You just need to take enough exercise and eat the right diet.

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