The Diabetes Epidemic – Making A Change

Dr. Terry Rousseau, the onsite physician at Payson Care Center, recently presented a program on diabetes attended by more than 70 people. A similar program is planned for March 5 at PCC.

Dr. Terry Rousseau, the onsite physician at Payson Care Center, recently presented a program on diabetes attended by more than 70 people. A similar program is planned for March 5 at PCC.


The Payson Care Center recently sponsored a diabetes lecture presented by its onsite physician Dr. Terry Rousseau.

More than 70 people showed up to learn how to manage or reverse diabetes. But that’s not all, even more people called to attend. Because of the overwhelming response a second lecture has been scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday, March 5 at Payson Care Center. Please Christy VanderMolen at (928) 951-2305 for reservations.

Diabetes is a debilitating illness that affects more than 23 million people in the United States — especially older adults.

But why are we experiencing this epidemic?

It really boils down to the eating habits that our nation has adopted. The days of farming and growing our own fresh vegetables and fruits are gone, and the fast foods, boxed and prepared meals have become the norm for many. But are they really a convenience when they lead to diabetes, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and amputations?

So what is diabetes? Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are the most common diabetes among older adults. Diabetes is classed as a metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to the way our bodies use digested food for energy and growth. Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood — the principal source of fuel for our bodies. When our food is digested, the glucose makes its way into our bloodstream. Our cells use the glucose for energy and growth. However, glucose cannot enter our cells without insulin being present — insulin makes it possible for our cells to take in the glucose. A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated. This is because the body does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. When we consume too much sugar or “bad” carbohydrates we clog the system’s ability to promote healthy glucose to fuel our bodies properly.

With Type 1 diabetes, no insulin is produced at all. Type 1 diabetes is not reversible, but treatment is effective in reducing its symptoms.

Rousseau encouraged attendees with the good news that early stages of diabetes and Type 2 diabetes can be reversed through proper diet and exercise. He believes in the Low Glycemic Index Diet and also recommends exercising at least four times a week. Reversing diabetes is a lifestyle change, but success stories say the change was worth it. The weight loss, getting off medications and routine exercise can add years of life.

To start on a low glycemic index diet, look for information on the Internet or at the library on types of food you can eat and foods to avoid. Most vegetables are appropriate for the diet, but fruits to avoid include watermelon, grapes and other melons. Apples are one of the lowest glycemic index fruits, as are blueberries, strawberries and cherries. Be sure to stay away from starches like potatoes and white rice. Fruit is always a good substitute for that bowl of ice cream. Lean meats such as chicken and fish are best.

Turn your healthy eating habits into a hobby. Research recipes and do your homework on what foods to eat. It is never too late to make a change, and this change is worth it.

There is no truth in the sayings, “I am too old to change” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The fact is, if you have Type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic, you have to change. You have a choice when you go to the grocery store on what foods you will take home to eat that week, you have a choice to watch another hour of TV or go out for a walk with your dog, spouse or friend. Start making your changes today.


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