The consequences of uncontrolled diabetes are severe blindness, kidney failure, increased risk of heart disease, and painful peripheral nerve damage. Today, most practitioners focus treatment on strict blood sugar control. While diabetes is characterized by excess blood glucose (the form of sugar used by cells as energy), this simplified approach can actually hasten the progression of the most common form of diabetes and does nothing to address the damage it causes.
A new approach to diabetes recognition and treatment is needed because the conventional wisdom has failed us. America is in the midst of a diabetes epidemic. Over the past 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled, and children are being diagnosed with diabetes in alarming numbers. Diabetes has rapidly emerged as a leading culprit in the epidemic of heart disease, as well as being a leading cause of amputation and blindness among adults.
It is crucial that diabetics (and those predisposed to diabetes) understand the ways in which blood glucose causes damage and take active steps to interrupt these processes. The most notorious process is glycation (i.e., sugar molecules reacting with proteins to produce nonfunctional structures in the body). Glycation compromises proteins throughout the body, thus is a key feature of diabetes-related complications (e.g., nerve damage, heart attack, and blindness).
Oxidative stress is also central to the damage caused by diabetes. Diabetics suffer from high levels of free radicals that damage arteries throughout the body. It is important that diabetics understand the need for antioxidant therapy to help reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of diabetic complications.