Tag Archives: type 2 diabetes

Dioxin – An Ever-Present Carcinogen

Dioxin is a toxic chemical, often a by-product of industrial processes such as waste incineration. Dioxin is a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) that also disrupts hormones. It is plentiful and largely unavoidable in our modern world, though there are ways to cut down on overexposure.

How Are We Exposed to Dioxin?

Dioxin is a major environmental pollutant which falls under the persistent organic pollutant (POP) umbrella. Dioxin chemicals don’t break down or go away, so dioxin-based pollutants keep building up on the planet and accumulating in animal tissue, making dioxin a part of our food chain. Because of this, humans predominantly take in dioxin through environmental exposure as well as through eating animal products such as meat and cheese. Some people are exposed to more dioxin than others, for example, those who work in waste management or certain industrial industries.

What Health Issues Are Linked to Dioxin?

Dioxin is a known carcinogen that has been directly linked to various forms of cancer, but the damage doesn’t stop there. It has been connected with a higher risk of developing many issues such as: type 2 diabetes, fertility problems in both genders, birth defects, neurodevelopmental issues for children, immunosuppression, skin disorders, lung, heart and other organ problems.

How Can We Cut Down in Dioxin Exposure?

Pollutants like dioxin are so omnipresent in our world that they are impossible to completely avoid, however, there are measures we can take to strengthen our natural immunity and cut down on dioxin overexposure such as:

  • Reduce the amount of animal products you ingest
  • Stock up on fresh produce
  • Drink lots of filtered water
  • Exercise regularly to help strengthen your body and immunity
  • If you work an industrial job where you are routinely exposed to more chemicals or toxins, wear protective gear to work such as a chemical filtering mask

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Prediabetes – Nature’s Warning Label

Prediabetes is a health condition whereby a person’s blood-sugar levels are chronically elevated higher than normal, but not yet quite in the zone of diabetes. It is startlingly common in the United States, affecting approximately 1 in 3 American adults. Unfortunately, many people don’t take prediabetes seriously, which may be one of the foremost contributing factors to the extraordinarily high number of Americans who go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

What are the Symptoms of Prediabetes?

Some people don’t experience any symptoms even though their blood-sugars are elevated, while others seek medical attention because they begin having some of the early symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision or fatigue. Whether or not the person is having symptoms, elevated sugars are enough cause for concern to start acting upon.

Can Prediabetes Lead To All Types of Diabetes?

No, prediabetes only leads to type 2 diabetes (and may have a correlation with gestational diabetes as well), but it cannot lead to Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition whereby the body attacks the pancreas, causing problems with insulin production. Type 1 has no prerequisite and cannot be prevented, whereas type 2 can most often be prevented by making healthier lifestyle alterations such as exercising more, quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol consumption and adhering to a healthy diet.

The Heated Prediabetes Debate

There is a moderately large camp of medical professionals standing in opposition to prediabetes awareness campaigns, viewing the term as rash, overzealous and responsible for unnecessary testing. These doctors believe a diagnosis of prediabetes alarms people more than helps them. To this sentiment, Ann Albright, the CDC’s director of the Division of Diabetes has rebutted, “Our major message is to use this as a warning, not to frighten people. It’s just not an option to stand by and watch millions of people march to diabetes.” Most medical professionals seem to err on the side of the CDC, looking at a prediabetes screening as a good way to set people down a better path of self-care so as to avoid a bigger health problem down the line.

Why You Should Take Prediabetes Seriously

Prediabetes can be a direct precursor to type 2 diabetes, a life-threatening and often debilitating disease that can cause kidney failure, loss of limbs, cardiovascular complications and more. Being that type 1 and 2 diabetes are collectively the 7th leading cause of death in the united states, it is important to take a diagnosis of prediabetes seriously so you can positively change the trajectory of your future before type 2 diabetes takes a hold of your life.

Time to Answer the Wake-up Call

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, look at it as a second chance to get your health on track before you head down the harrowing path of no return to full-on diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or suspect you may have it, check out some of our diabetes prevention tips, and talk to your doctor about a personalized lifestyle action plan to help you turn your health around before it becomes too difficult to do so!

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This or That? – Better Diabetic Food Choices

While there are clear front-runner foods when it comes to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, remember that even when it comes to the less healthy options, the occasional indulgence is perfectly fine. However, for the best shot at better health, try to stick within these suggested guidelines:

  1. VeggiesMost veggies are good choices for diabetes. In fact, be sure to fit as many different types and colors of veggies into your diet as possible. However, be careful how you dress your veggies – avoid butters, creams, or other high sodium, fat or sugar dressings.
    Try to cut down on: Veggies that come in cans packed with excess sugar or sodium, as well as potatoes and corn which both fit under the metabolic ‘carb’ category.
  2. Starches – Some starches are better than others. Stick with whole grains and sweet potatoes that can be properly metabolized.
    Try to cut down on: White rice, breads or pastas, or too much potato.
  3. Dairy – While dairy can be an important part of a balanced diet, it is important to try and stick to low-fat options such as skim or soy milk and low-fat cheeses (such as cottage cheese). Low-fat Greek is one of the best yogurt choices because of its high protein count and low in calories and fat.
    Try to cut down on: The many dairy products that contain ample fat, calories and added sugar such as full-fat cheeses, rich creams, ice cream, whole or half milk and full-fat, highly sweetened yogurts.
  4. Protein – Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are great sources of plant-based protein, delivering the goods without added sugar or bad fats. Eggs, lean, skinless meats like turkey and chicken, as well as fish are other great protein choices for diabetics.
    Try to cut down on: Bacon, red meat, fried or deep-fried meats or fish, beans prepared with too much maple syrup, molasses, pork or lard.
  5. Fruit – While nature’s candy offers a surplus of nutrients, vitamins, fiber and minerals, most fruit are high in carbs and sugar. It is best to go for fresh fruit such as berries (loaded with antioxidants), kiwi, oranges, apricots or tart cherries, which can help lower systemic inflammation. No-sugar-added applesauce is also a good choice. If you’re craving some jam for your whole-grain toast, go for a low-sugar option.
    Try to cut down on: canned, sweetened fruit, fruit juice (unless it is no-sugar added concentrate) or sweetened jam. Some fresh fruits are also higher in carbs and sugar than others such as grapes, but all fresh fruit should be okay in moderation.
  6. Cooking fats – go for polyunsaturated fats such as canola, flaxseed, sunflower oil, as well as super-healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil has also shown promise for diabetics. When it comes to mayonnaise, go for a lower fat variety. Nut butters are good fat choices as well.
    Try to cut down on: trans fats such as French fries or processed snacks such as chips and cookies, and saturated fats such as lard, butter, coconut oil, cream or gravy.
  7. Drinks – Water is clearly the beverage superstar, not only for diabetics, but anyone. What other choices are good for diabetics? Coffee, unsweetened teas, skin milk, and diet soda (in moderation).
    Try to cut down on: high-sugar juices or drinks or regular sodas. You should also try to avoid alcoholic beverages as they can interfere with diabetes medications or insulin levels. However, if you’re really feeling like an adult beverage, try a light beer or a glass of wine.

For more information about optimal diabetic diet choices, visit the American Diabetes Association. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about diabetes management, feel free to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our highly qualified, board certified DocChat physicians.



Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tips

Being that type 2 diabetes is one of the most common afflictions in North America, killing over 70,000 annually in the United States alone, we wanted to look into some preventative measures people can take against developing diabetes. Fortunately, diabetes is a highly preventable disease. Even in the prediabetes stage, it is largely reversible. So be sure to follow these simple steps to greatly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • According to the National Institute of Digestive, Diabetes and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), you should look for labels that contain less saturated fats, trans fats, calories, sodium, cholesterol and especially, added sugars.
  • Eat smaller portions of healthier foods – think more fruits and veggies (at least half your plate every meal) and less meats.
  • If you have trouble reducing portion sizes, drink a glass of water before your meals so you’ll consume less.
  • When it comes to reducing meat intake, that doesn’t include fish. While fish haven’t been linked to diabetes prevention, they are still very healthy and contain many healthful goodies including omega-3 fatty acids which can help with chronic inflammation and have been proven to help prevent heart disease. So don’t ditch the fish!
  • Cut back on junk food (especially simple carbs and sugary foods which directly contribute to type 2 diabetes).
  • Cut back on cheeses and other whole-fat dairy products (try getting your milk choice down to 1% or skim).
  • Go with lower-sodium food choices, and try to substitute salt with different, healthier seasonings such as garlic or pepper.
  • Go baked instead of fried!
  • Eat more whole grains as they appear to help stabilize and maintain healthy blood-sugar levels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – those who are overweight are more likely to get type 2 diabetes, and those who are obese are at an even higher risk.
  • Inactivity is a killer. Diabetes more frequently strikes those with sedentary lifestyles, so get moving!
  • Try to get at least half an hour of exercise everyday (or at least 5 days of the week).
  • Work activity into your day in little ways. Try taking the stairs more, walking on the spot while watching TV or pumping up your household chores by playing dance music while you work.
  • Quit smoking and keep alcohol intake to a limited to moderate level (a drink a day won’t put you at risk, but 3 or more may).
  • Control your blood pressure as high blood pressure has been linked to diabetes.
  • Get regular checkups! If you’re in doubt, check it out. Ask your doctor to order a blood-glucose test to check your levels.

If you haven’t caught our first post on diabetes check it out here. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about diabetes or diabetes prevention, please feel free to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our excellent, board certified DocChat physicians!


Type 2 Diabetes – Know Your Risk

Type 2 diabetes is all-too common these days. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, more than 24 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes, but approximately 6 million are currently undiagnosed. Furthermore, over 57 million adults have prediabetes. Diabetes accounts for over 70,000 deaths annually, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the country.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes results when the immune system goes on the fritz and attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, this type is typically inherited and present at an early age. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body stops producing enough insulin to sustain it, or the body can’t use the insulin the pancreas does produce (insulin resistance). This happens over time when the body slowly stops responding to insulin signals, so insulin production rises and rises, in turn the blood-sugar levels also dangerously rise.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

While many people may have a genetic predisposition to disease, up to 90% of cases are preventable by keeping a healthy weight, not smoking or drinking too much, eating healthy and exercising regularly. Most often the gradual resistance to insulin that results in diabetes is caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, inactivity, and smoking.

Complications of Diabetes

Diabetes can lead to death by diabetic comas for those who do not have their disease under control. Diabetes is also the number one cause of kidney failure as well as a key contributor to blindness among American adults. It can also lead to nerve damage or even limb loss. Diabetes often goes hand-in-hand with cardiovascular disease as well, as both conditions are exacerbated by high blood pressure.

Other Risk Factors

According to the CDC, aside from diet, activity level and smoking, other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Age: People over 45 years of age are more likely to develop diabetes.
  • Genetics: Having a close family member with the disease drastically increases your odds.
  • Ethnicity: People of African American, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic American or Asian American are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Having had gestational diabetes or having given birth to a baby weighting over 9 pounds.

Risk Factors Do Not Necessarily Seal Your Fate

Certainly some of these risk factors cannot be avoided such as age, ethnicity or genetics, but most cases are still preventable because even if non-modifiable risk factors are present, diabetes is still highly dependant on lifestyle. Therefor, you may have the ability to avoid the disease if you take extra lifestyle precautions knowing you are at higher risk. You can calculate your general risk of developing type 2 diabetes here to see just how seriously you should be taking the threat.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is more of a warning sign than a guarantee of developing diabetes. Most times it is still reversible, but by the time blood-sugars rise uncontrollably and turn into full-blown diabetes, it is no longer reversible. Prediabetes is a category of people who have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but don’t quite have levels that fall within the diabetic range. It is also sometimes referred to as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Prediabetes puts you at higher risk of developing both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so it is important to take immediate action to control your health if you are diagnosed with prediabetes.

Check back for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention tips next! Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions or concerns about diabetes, feel free to sign up for a video conference with one of our board certified physicians!



5 Diseases Caused by Obesity


It’s easy to know which foods are bad and which are good, but it doesn’t make it any easier to make good decisions when you’re feeling peckish.

More than mere appearance, obesity is seriously bad for your health.

According to medical sciences, you are considered obese if your weight is twenty percent more than the weight considered as standard for your height, calculated by your BMI. While BMI isn’t perfect (some people are muscular and therefore weigh more while others are extremely tall), the correlation between obesity and serious diseases is extremely high.

Here are 5 diseases that are caused by obesity:

Stroke and Heart Disease

If you have extra weight, you will be more prone to high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure. These conditions are some of the leading factors that can cause stroke or heart disease, but all are not doomed. Medical experts suggest that if you lose some proportion of your weight then you can also decrease the likelihood of stroke or heart disease. Just five to ten percent of weight shedding should be enough for you to lower your chances of contracting the diseases.

Diabetes (Type 2)

It is commonly observed that individuals that have type 2 diabetes are either obese or overweight. So, if you want to cut down your chances of having diabetes, you can do so by shedding weight. You must practice consuming a balanced and healthy diet, exercising, and getting the right amount of sleep. Even if you have diabetes, you should attempt to lose weight and to be physically more active since this will allow you to better manage your body’s blood sugar proportions. Moreover, if you are active, your body might demand lesser levels of diabetes medication.


Several types of cancer such as of the kidney, esophagus, and colon are associated with obesity. Recent studies have also found out that obesity is associated with cancer of the pancreas and gallbladder. The treatment of cancer is a very lengthy and costly process that is often very painful for the patient, not to mention that cancer can have grave consequences. So wouldn’t it be better if you try to avoid the disease altogether?


Gallstones as well as gallbladder disease are more likely to afflict an overweight person rather than a normal or underweight individual. But beware, as medical science tells us that weight loss (especially rapid loss of large proportions of weight) can also lead to the acquisition of gallstones.

So, if you are obese, it is important that you shed fat in a slow and timely manner. For instance, lose just one pound in seven or eight days at most. This will surely allow you to avoid having gallstones.


This is a joint condition that frequently affects the back, hip or knee area of the body. If you are obese, your body will naturally carry extra weight which will put pressure upon the aforementioned joints. This negatively affects the cartilage that usually safeguards them.

By losing weight, you will put less stress on your lower back, hips and knees, thereby reducing your chances of attaining osteoarthritis.

Losing Weight Is Hard

There’s no doubt about that, but small steps taken each day can lead to results. It’s important to remember that the benefits of losing weight go far beyond appearance. Immediately after eating healthier meals, the following will happen:

  1. you’ll feel more energetic
  2. you’ll sleep better
  3. you’ll have better cognitive function
  4. you’ll start to recall facts and items that you previously couldn’t remember
  5. your mood will improve
  6. you’ll become more productive
  7. your appetite will decrease

Just remember that every positive action taken towards a healthy diet is a victory. You can’t expect it all to happen at once. You will build the habits you need in time once your brain recognizes the association between the healthy action and the positive effect.

Be well and #thrive!