American Idol judge Randy Jackson appears fit and trim while passing judgement on contestants, doesn’t he? Believe it or not, back in 2003 he weighed a whopping 360 pounds. At 45 years old, he was in “the worst shape of my life” and it was then that he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Randy grew up in Louisiana and as any fan of Paul Prudhomme knows, the local diet includes some very rich foods. Louisianians certainly know how to cook and they lay the sweets and fats on heavy and thick. Randy grew up with this diet and continued his indulgence during his Grammy award winning career as a musician and producer. His father had Type 2 Diabetes and took daily insulin shots, but Randy ignored the classic warning signs of Diabetes: weeks-long fatigue and thirst, and a feeling of being overheated.
Because Randy was overweight, and the fact that Diabetes ran in his family, his propensity for contracting the disease was stronger than for someone who had a weight problem minus the family history. Fortunately his physician caught it in time and Randy now has his Diabetes under control.
Types of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes, simply called Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is in no way related to lifestyle or body weight and is not preventable. In Type 1 Diabetes, the person’s own body has destroyed the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The patient must take insulin on a regular basis to stay alive. This type of Diabetes usually occurs before the age of 40 and can be seen in juveniles as well (hence the nickname, Juvenile Diabetes) Whether a person is fat, thin, fit or unfit, makes no difference to his or her risk of developing Type 1.
Type 2 Diabetes is quite the opposite. Its onset is the result of poor body weight, fitness and lifestyle. In the body of a person with Type 2 Diabetes, not enough insulin is being produced or the Insulin is not working properly, known as insulin resistance. Sometimes both conditions are present. This type of Diabetes tends to appear later in life, usually after 40 years of age. Approximately 85% of all Diabetes patients have Type 2.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas. It transports the sugar circulating in your bloodstream into your cells to be used as fuel. Without insulin to transport the sugar into the cells, sugar has nowhere to go and remains in your bloodstream, which shows up as high blood glucose readings.
When your body’s cells do not have sugar to use as fuel, your body uses muscle and fat. This metabolism of muscle and fat produces a dangerous byproduct called ketones, which is a poison to your system. A high level of ketones may result in coma or death.
Dangerous side effects of diabetes
Immediate effects/warning signs: dizziness, fatigue. If you experience these two symptoms for more than 24 hours, see your physician immediately.
Long term effects: heart attack, damage to the eyes, kidney, nerves and heart, blindness, foot amputations (there are roughly 86,000 diabetes-related foot amputations performed annually in the U.S.)
The effects of Diabetes on the body are truly scary. However the good news is that you can bring Type 2 diabetes under control with weight management, a fitness routine, and dietary changes. Randy Jackson now weighs 230 pounds, measures his blood glucose once a day and takes oral medications when necessary to lower his blood glucose. And of course, that famous Louisiana diet is history.
If you are diabetic, make sure you visit your physician on a regular basis for checkups. It’s also important to visit a podiatrist to examine your feet for diabetes related foot conditions. Regular podiatry visits to the Diabetic Foot and Ankle Center of the Lehigh Valley will identify any foot problems you may have. At the time of your visit you’ll be given a diabetic preventative foot care plan to help you prevent the devastating effects diabetes on your feet.
Be proactive with Diabetes, not reactive, especially if you have a history of Diabetes in your family. Get fit, develop a healthy lifestyle and meal plan and your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes will be greatly reduced.