Tag Archives: diabetes prevention

The Diabetes Debate: Brainiac (part 4)

Katie: Welcome back to Pass the Blame. We’re here with special guests Muscle and Brain. Brain? Where’d you go?

Brain: I’m hungry. I’m looking for a snack. I want a donut.

Katie: I’m glad you brought that up, Brain. Your blood glucose level is high right now, so the last thing you need is sugar.

Brain: Perhaps a cookie or two.

Katie: You want sugar because your cells are starving for energy and they’re sending you signals that they need food, but the glucose that gives them energy is there, it’s just stuck in the blood. The insulin keys aren’t working to unlock the cells and let the glucose in.

Brain: I read about this.

Katie: Yes, you probably did. You’ve been handed lots of pamphlets on type two diabetes recently.

Brain: It’s all a bit overwhelming, isn’t it?

Katie: Yes, I suppose, but you are the brain; I’m sure you can handle it.

Brain: Yeah, maybe. *yawn*

Muscle: Brain, I need to move more! Let’s go for a walk.

Brain: I’m sorry, Muscle, I’m too tired. Maybe tomorrow.

Muscle: You always say that.

Katie: Come on, Brain, you’re in charge here and Body needs to make some changes.

Kidney 1: We need you to take action.

Kidney 2: You need to fix this!

Katie: We’ve been, um, joined by the Kidney Twins. Welcome, ladies.

Brain: Me? Fix this? I’m having enough trouble keeping up with my regular duties. If you want me to take on a special project, I need down time. I need sleep.

Muscle: You get sleep!

Brain: Not the good kind. You all keep waking me up! If our blood glucose level goes down, Stomach is hungry. If our blood glucose level goes up, Bladder has to pee. Foot’s going nuts when neuropathy hits her and on top of that, now we have sleep apnea. Every few minutes Lung 1 and Lung 2 wake me up screaming, “We’re dying! We have no air! Oh, wait, we’re okay now.” It’s driving me crazy.

Muscle: I can help if you let me.

Brain: I’m tired.

Muscle: Well, push though it and let me move! Exercise helps you sleep better.

Kidney 1: It’ll help control the blood glucose level too.

Katie: Exercise or sleep?

Kidney 1: Both.

Brain: You know, Kidneys, keeping the blood glucose levels controlled will help me sleep better.

Kidney 2: Guess what, Brain: better sleep will help control the blood glucose level.

Pancreas: It’s a cycle, people. Pick a launching point and jump in already! I can’t keep on like this.

Katie: Oh, okay, now Pancreas has barged her way into the studio as well. Um, welcome Pancreas.

Brain: Why are you all looking at me?

Pancreas: Because all neurons lead to Rome!

Kidney 2: The cerebellum stops here.

Muscle: You give the orders, so you order some changes, dude!

Katie: Okay, ladies, let’s all calm down. Remember your blood pressure. If you all work together, you can manage your diabetes and Body can still have a long healthy life.

Pancreas: What do we do first?

Katie: Well, Muscle is offering to exercise. Exercise will help Brain sleep better and will help regulate your blood glucose level by removing some glucose from the blood without insulin’s help.

Brain: Okay, fine. Muscle, you can walk or something.

Muscle: I want thirty minutes a day.

Brain: What? You’re crazy!

Katie: You’ll get more blood flow and feel more awake.

Brain: Hmm, tempting. What else?

Katie: Well, you can lose weight. Being overweight increases your risk of type two diabetes.

Brain: I refuse to spend my valuable neurons counting the calories in rice cakes and cookie crumbs.

Katie: It doesn’t have to be that extreme. Start by eating smaller portions of what you eat now. Drink water instead of juice or soda so you don’t drink your calories. Make simple changes, one step at a time. You know, there’s a strong link between belly fat and diabetes. Losing even 7% of your—

Brain: Wait a minute. If we get rid of Belly Fat, this diabetes thing could all go away?

Katie: It’s not that simple, but it would really help if—

Brain: Come on, girls! This is Belly Fat’s fault! Let’s get her!

Katie: Ladies! Ladies, come back! We, um, we’ll be right back. I hope. Wait for me!

Part 5

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The Diabetes Debate: Muscle Mania (part 3)

Katie: Today we’re discussing who’s to blame for Body’s recent diabetes type two diagnosis. We’re talking with special guest, Muscle.

Muscle: Wassup, yo.

Katie: Your Body’s blood glucose level, that’s what’s up. Any comments?

Muscle: Yeah, Dude. I have plenty of glycogen. Tell ‘em to put me in the game!

Katie: Glycogen? What’s that?

diabetes-debate-9.jpgMuscle: It’s this stuff that gives me energy. I store it until I need it. I’ve been dying to use it, man, but Brain’s been keeping me on the bench.

Katie: Did she say why?

Muscle: Straight up excuses. She’s busy, she’s tired, blah, blah, blah. I need to move, dude!

Katie: Will you exercising help Body lower her blood glucose level?

Muscle: Yo, man, I don’t know, I leave that brain stuff to Brain. All I know is that I store glycogen, when I move I use it, then I get more.

Katie: Where does glycogen come from? How do you get more?

Muscle: From the blood. It’s called glue…something. After I exercise, I suck in the glue thing, change it to glycogen, and save it so I’m always ready to move. I want to do squats so bad!

Katie: Wait, glue-something…do you mean glucose?

Muscle: Yeah, that sounds right. Can you ask Brain if I can do some squats?

Katie: Do you need insulin to suck in the glucose?

Muscle: The what?

Katie: The glue. Do you need insulin to take the glue-thing out of the blood?

Muscle: Nah, man, after I exercise I’m so hungry for it that I just take it. No insulin needed.

diabetes-debate-10_0001.jpgKatie: So if Body had exercised when she was insulin resistant, then you, Muscle, could have lowered her blood glucose level without insulin?

Muscle: If that’s what I said, then sure.

Katie: That’s amazing.

Muscle: Yes, I am. You should see me when I flex.

Katie: Muscle, my assistant just handed me some research. It says studies have shown that exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. One study showed that even if Body overeats, exercise will help her regulate her blood glucose level.

Muscle: Cool. I work with Heart a lot. She says she feels better when I move too.

Katie: I was just discussing the blood glucose level’s affects on the cardiovascular system with the Kidney Twins! Exercise is extra important for diabetics because diabetes increases Heart’s risk of a heart attack. Look at this study: exercise plus moderate weight loss—as little as ten pounds—lowers Body’s risk of type two diabetes by 58%!

Muscle: Sweet.

Katie: Let’s get Brain in here. We need to ask her about your squats.

Muscle: Cool, but before we talk to Brain, Bladder’s full again.

Katie: Then I suppose we’ll take a break. Stay with us: we’ll be right back.

Part 4

The Diabetes Debate: blood glucose levels (Part 2)

Katie: Welcome back to Pass the Blame. We’re here with Pancreas discussing her body’s recent diagnosis of type two diabetes. And we have two special guests with us, organs who say they’ve been cleaning up after her for years. Let’s welcome the Kidney Twins!

diabetes 5Kidney 1: Hi, Katie. Hello, Pancreas. You certainly keep us busy.

Pancreas: Hmph, again with the finger pointing. I blame the system. If only the…Katie, why are you laughing?

Katie: Because the body is a series of systems and you blame the sys…never mind. Kidney, what did you mean when you said you clean up after Pancreas?

Kidney 1: Remember how she said that when glucose can’t enter a cell it stays in the blood? Well, after a while, the blood fills up with glucose. It’s not safe and somebody has to remove it.

Katie: That somebody is you?

Kidney 1: That’s correct. We remove glucose the way we remove anything that shouldn’t be in the blood. We turn it into urine so it can be pumped out of body.

Katie: Your twin doesn’t say very much.

Kidney 1: She’s calculating how much urine needs to be produced and it’s more and more these days. We’ve been working overtime.

diabetes-6.jpgPancreas: You’re not the only ones.

Kidney 1: If you did your job and moved the glucose into the cells like you’re supposed to, we wouldn’t be up to our elbows in liquid waste!

Pancreas: Oh, boo hoo! I was working overtime way before you! I’m doing everything I can!

Kidney 1: It’s not enough! I’m not sure if what we do will be enough. The blood glucose levels are all over the place. It’s like a roller coaster in the blood stream and we’re going to lose Foot or Eyes!

Kidney 2: There, there, Kidney, don’t cry. Save the water for the urine. We’re not that far along yet. Brain is pushing the thirsty button almost constantly now, and body is drinking more. We’ll get ahead of it.

diabetes-7.jpgKatie: Ladies, can we agree that you all look exhausted and move on from there? Thank you. Now, what would happen if you all took a day off? What’s so bad about the blood glucose levels being high for a while?

Kidney 2: Glucose messes with the nitric oxide in the blood.

Kidney 1: The more glucose there is, the less nitric oxide there is. Nitric oxide makes the blood vessels relax and open wide.

Katie: So without sufficient nitric oxide, the blood vessels are stressed out?

Kidney 1: They become stressed, yes. They stay tight and hard and constricted which makes it harder for the blood to flow.

Katie: And if the blood can’t flow freely…

Pancreas: Then Body gets high blood pressure and eventually the body parts farthest from the heart don’t get enough blood.

diabetes 8Kidney 2: The nerves become damaged. It’s called neuropathy. Sometimes neuropathy causes pain or tingling and sometimes it causes numbness.

Katie: That’s why you’re worried about Foot; she’s far from the heart. Why are you worried about Eyes?

Kidney 1: High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels feeding the retina. When you mess with the retina, you mess with your vision. Eyes can lose focus or even become blind.

Katie: Wow, no wonder you ladies are working so hard.

Pancreas: We can’t give up.

Katie: We’ll be right back with a special guest who says she can help reduce Body’s glucose problem.

Part 3

The Diabetes Debate: Whose Fault is it? (part 1)

Katie: Welcome to Pass the Blame. I’m your hostess, Katie Robles. With us today is the talk of the body, Pancreas. Thanks for granting us this interview, Pancreas.

Pancreas: Happy to be here. I want to set the record straight.

Katie: Pancreas, your body has been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and many organs are laying the blame on you.

Pancreas: It’s not my fault and they know it.

Diabetes Debate 1Katie: Isn’t diabetes—in its essence—a lack of insulin? And as the pancreas, isn’t it your job to make insulin?

Pancreas: I’ve been making insulin perfectly for decades, Katie. Decades! I’ve done my job.

Katie: You’re saying this problem is new? Everything was fine when your body was young?

Pancreas: Absolutely.

Katie: Don’t some children have diabetes? Couldn’t your body have been covering for you until now?

Pancreas: No, no, no. Juvenile diabetes is totally different: the pancreas in those cases can’t produce insulin. I can. I did. I do!

Katie: Calm down, please, Pancreas, we’re just trying to get the facts. Maybe it would help if you explain what it is that you do.

Diabetes Debate 2Pancreas: You know what glucose is?

Katie: Glucose…as in sugar?

Pancreas: Yeah, close enough. When you eat, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose.

Katie: Carbohydrates?

Pancreas: You know: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes—

Katie: French fries?

Pancreas: Yes, and lentils, beans, fruits, milk products, and the list goes on. They all break down into glucose which is fuel for your cells. No glucose, no energy. Blood delivers the glucose to every cell in the body, but cells are paranoid: they don’t let just anything in. You have to have the right key.

Katie: Let me guess: insulin is that key?

Diabetes Debate 3Pancreas: That’s right. Without insulin, the cell doors stay locked tight and glucose stays in the blood.

Katie: And the cells have no energy?

Pancreas: Right.

Katie: And you say you still make insulin?

Pancreas: Yes, I do.

Katie: Then why is your body diabetic?

Pancreas: Body was pumping in extra glucose for years and I produced extra insulin to compensate. It worked for a while, but eventually my keys didn’t fit the locks anymore.

Katie: Why is that?

Pancreas: I don’t know, but it’s the locks that changed, not the keys. I didn’t have a word for it at the time, but Brain has been reading pamphlets and she says it was Insulin Resistance. I worked overtime making insulin and that helped a little.

Katie: Body had no idea something was wrong?

Pancreas: Not consciously, no. Skin says she made a dark circle on the back of body’s neck, but Eyes never saw it, so Body kept doing her thing. Over the years a bunch of Belly Fat moved in, Body stopped exercising, and my insulin keys only worked part of the time. That’s when the finger pointing started.

Diabetes Debate 4Katie: What do you want our audience to know, Pancreas? Set the record straight for us.

Pancreas: I’m a hard working organ; always have been. My product is the key to glucose absorption in cells and if the key isn’t working, maybe they should blame the lock.

Katie: Pancreas, a few organs have noticed that because you produce so much insulin, body has been feeling hungry. Body eats more, more glucose circulates, and you make more insulin. I give no credence to the conspirators who claim you’re trying to wag the dog here, but why don’t you simply slow down insulin production?

Pancreas: Look, orders come in, I fill them. I’m not authorized to do anything else. But my production units are so overworked they’re starting to break down, so those conspirators might just get their wish.

Katie: Thank you, Pancreas. We’re going to take a short bathroom break because Bladder is full, but we’ll be back in a moment.

Part 2