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Causes of diabetes and how to prevent

Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood.

The defining feature of diabetes is elevated blood sugar. But the reasons for abnormal sugar seem to “differ tremendously from person to person,” said Dr. Robert A. Rizza, a professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Understanding exactly what signals are involved, he said, raises the hope of “providing the right care for each person each day, rather than giving everyone the same drug.”

Medical science has discovered how sensitive the insulin receptor sites are to chemical poisoning.

Metals such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, lead, fluoride and possibly aluminum may play a role in the actual destruction of beta cells through stimulating an auto-immune reaction to them after they have bonded to these cells in the pancreas. It is because mercury and lead attach themselves at highly vulnerable junctures of proteins that they find their great capacity to provoke morphological changes in the body. Changes in pancreatic function are among the pathogenetic mechanisms observable during lead intoxication.

Food is not considered junk just because of high fat or sugar content, there is a long list of poisonous chemicals used by the food industry that are striking people down. And there are many serious nutritional deficiencies in today's food that diminish the body's capacity to deal safely with these chemicals and heavy metals - with magnesium and selenium deficiencies at the top of the list.

For instance, according to Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, a researcher from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the poultry industry's practice of using arsenic compounds in its feed is something that has not been studied: "It's an issue everybody is trying to pretend doesn't exist." Arsenic exposure is a risk factor for diabetes mellitus. Inorganic arsenic is considered one of the prominent environmental causes of cancer mortality in the world.

To prevent complications of diabetes, visit your health care provider or diabetes educator at least four times a year. Talk about any problems you are having.

Regularly have the following tests:

• Have your blood pressure checked every year (blood pressure goals should be 130/80 mm/Hg or lower).

• Have your glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) checked every 6 months if your diabetes is well controlled, otherwise every 3 months.

• Have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked yearly (aim for LDL levels below 100 mg/dL, less than 70 mg/dL in high-risk patients).

• Get yearly tests to make sure your kidneys are working well (microalbuminuria and serum creatinine).

• Visit your ophthalmologist (preferably one who specializes in diabetic retinopathy) at least once a year, or more often if you have signs of diabetic retinopathy.

• See the dentist every 6 months for a thorough dental cleaning and exam. Make sure your dentist and hygienist know that you have diabetes.

• Make sure your health care provider inspects your feet at each visit.