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Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Diabetes, Heart Attacks and Cancers

The same lifestyle changes that help to prevent heart attacks also help to prevent many different cancers and diabetes (Int. J. Epidemiol, September 2015;44(4):1353-1363). Diabetes leads to both heart attacks and cancers, yet most cases of Type II diabetes can be prevented, or cured if they are treated effectively in the early stages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 29 million North Americans have diabetes, and 25 percent of these people do not know they have it. Another 86 million U.S. adults (one in three) have pre-diabetes and thus are at high risk for dementia, heart attacks, cancers, nerve damage, blindness, deafness and the many other side effects of diabetes. Having high rises in blood sugar markedly increases cancer risk, even if you do not have diabetes (Diabetes Care, March 2007).

People most likely to develop diabetes are those who:
• have a family history of diabetes
• are overweight
• store fat primarily in the belly, rather than the hips
• have small, narrow hips
• have triglycerides > 150 (European Journal of Internal Medicine, February 6, 2014)
• have low levels of the good HDL cholesterol
• have a fasting blood sugar greater than 100
• have a blood sugar over 140 two hours after eating
• have an HBA1c greater than 5.5. (HBA1c is a blood test that measures how much sugar is stuck on cells and predicts cell damage from high blood sugar levels)
• have a fatty liver (picked up by abnormal liver blood tests or a sonogram of the liver)
• have small particle HDL and LDL cholesterol (Ann Clin Biochem, 2011;48(Pt 2):166-169)
• have high blood pressure (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2010;56(14):1113-1132)
• smoke
• take more than one drink a day or binge drink
• have small muscles
• do not exercise
• in men, a thick neck or male pattern baldness
• in women, excess hair on the face or body, or have diabetes during pregnancy

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Diabetes
If you have any of the above risk factors for diabetes, you should start a heart attack-and-cancer- prevention program that includes: * avoid all sugared drinks including fruit juices (The Lancet Diab. and Endocrinology, Feb 2014)
• severely restrict all sugar-added foods and other refined carbohydrates
• restrict fried foods (Am J Clin Nutr, August 2014; Diabetes Care, January 2014;37:88-95)
• avoid red meat (blocks insulin receptors -- Am J Clin Nutr, October 2011;94(4):1088-96)
• avoid processed meats
• avoid smoking and being around smokers
• avoid taking more than one drink a day
• lose weight if overweight (Obesity Reviews, March 24, 2014;15(4))
• eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables (Am J Clin Nutr, April 30, 2014;100(1):218-232)
• Keep hydroxy vitamin D above 26 mcg/L or 65 nmol/L; low levels of vitamin D increase risk for diabetes (J Nutr, 2014;144(5):734-42)
• exercise (Brit Med J, October 2013; J of Clin End and Metab, 2000;85(7):2463-8)
Four types of drugs used to prevent heart attacks increase diabetes risk: statins, niacin, thiazide diuretics, and beta blockers (Am Heart J, April, 2014:421-428). If you are taking any of these drugs, discuss this with your doctor.

Many people who already have diabetes can become non-diabetic if they follow these lifestyle changes rigorously and permanently.

Checked 1/2/16

October 18th, 2015
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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