He had one of the most incredible major league baseball careers in history. He played in 6 world series and would be award the 1949 MVP. Throughout his career, he had chronic ankle and knee pain. He struggled with his weight throughout his career and did not eat well. Both his brothers had diabetes and it wouldn’t be until after he retired, that he was officially diagnosed. He refused to make this news public and continued to ignore symptoms of the disease as preventable. Heart failure, vision impairment, and an unpalpable pulse in his legs. Two strokes left him numb on his left side. Eventually, vision was almost gone in his left eye and highly impaired in his right eye. Diabetes would eventually take the life of the first African American major league baseball player, Jackie Robinson.
Diabetes can affect anyone, even athletes, and like most serious diseases, it refuses to be ignored, and if not taken seriously, it will take your life.
Then you have cases like Larry King. Larry King was the epitome of bad habits. Eating what he wanted and smoking 3 packs a day until at age 53, Larry King had a heart attack. This woke Larry King up and made him realize that he has to take care of his body or he will die far too young. From then on he never smoked another cigarette and cleaned up his eating habits. He learned self-control. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the 1990s. He wasn’t expecting the diagnosis as he had already begun healthy habits, but he still took this diagnosis seriously. When he has a craving, he might get enough to get the taste in his mouth, but fights the urge for more because he wants to live. Larry King turns 84 this year and is still going strong in his career.
So here are two people on opposite sides of the spectrum. On the one hand, you have an athlete who ignored his diabetes until it eventually took his life too soon, and you have Larry King, a broadcaster who took his health seriously and is living a healthy life even well into his 80s.
According to the Diabetic Research Institute Foundation: there are more than 380 million people on the planet with Diabetes and 1 American dies every 3 minutes from this disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. It is also comes with a heavy financial burden. It costs the American public like $250 billion per year.
So what exactly is diabetes? Well let’s talk about metabolism first. When you eat food, your body turns that food into glucose, and the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is what allows your body to take that glucose and turn it into energy. Insulin serves as the “key” that unlocks the cell for glucose to enter.
Diabetes is defined as the body’s sensitivity to insulin becoming impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated, or suppressed levels of glucose in the blood and urine.
There are 2 major types of diabetes, cleverly labeled: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, though these aren’t the only forms the disease takes.
Type 1 -> The body does not make insulin. This is because the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that are responsible for insulin production. When there is no insulin, the glucose can’t be turned into energy, therefore your cells get starved. In those case, if insulin is not constantly injected, the people afflicted can die. This generally occurs in young people often referred to as juvenile onset diabetes, though it can appear at any age.
Type 2 -> The body does not properly utilize insulin. Your body still produces it, but sometimes the insulin doesn’t open the cells for glucose intake, known as insulin resistance. That or your body just don’t produce ENOUGH insulin. The strategy for treatment to type 2 diabetes is to increase your doses the more resistant you become. This is the form of diabetes that is most preventable and if taken care of properly, you may never even have to take insulin. However, if you don’t take care of it, your body rejects insulin more and more until your cells just can’t absorb glucose anymore, which is NOT good.
So how do you take care of yourself while you are diabetic? Well for type 2 diabetes, it’s much more simple than type 1. Start learning self-control, be careful of what you are eating, and start an exercise program. If you need help, there are people that are willing to write you a nutrition program so you know what to eat and if you aren’t good at exercise then you can hire someone to write your workouts and even take you through the workouts. When you talk about not having enough money, look at it this way: is it worth doing it for a few months so that you can live happier and healthier or do you just want to give up and suffer until you die early?
Avoiding becoming diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is your best bet. Exercise and modest weight loss have been shown to lower your risk by up to 58% in high risk populations. That’s cutting your risk in more than half! Both resistance training and aerobic training increase the body’s ability to utilize insulin, so it’s a good thing to start taking part in both. Partaking in physical activity can make your body more insulin sensitive for up to 24 hours after the exercise bout!
So why does this happen? Well the pancreas releases insulin to regulate blood sugar. That’s the entire job of insulin. Pull glucose out of the blood and into the tissues where it is stored. But when it comes to exercise, the muscles need glucose for energy, so the muscles release proteins that break down the glucose and use it for energy. Exercise bypasses the need for insulin! That is why some people are able to come off of their insulin medicine. It’s because their body becomes very good at breaking down glucose into glycogen, which is then burned for energy.
Type-1 diabetes is more challenging to deal with, but still doable based on the same principle. Bypassing the need for insulin to pull glucose from the blood. The difference with type-1 as opposed to type 2 is that you will have to be sure when you exercise that you have some sort of quickly digestible carb source with you just to be safe. It is possible that you pull too much glucose out of the blood for the muscles and deprive your other tissues that need the glucose, making you hypoglycemic. You can still push yourself, but it becomes even more important for you to know your limits and take it day by day. If you will have to be sure you are eating properly throughout the day before your workout and that you eat afterwards as well. MAKE BEING FIT A PRIORITY. In many cases, people just let their fitness fall out of priority and before they know it, they are playing catch up. If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.
I’d love to write any of you a program if you would like the help, just contact me through my FB page “D. Banks Productions”, through my blog, or even direct messaging me on Instagram @lifeandfitnesswithdbanks
Alright guys, I hope you found this helpful, interesting, or inspiring, I have plans of making this podcast and blog much more oriented towards fitness and getting more interviews on the show, be sure to follow me on Instagram @lifeandfitnesswithdbanks, check out my podcast, subscribe to my emailing list by hitting up bit.ly/lifeandfitnesswithdbanks. Now get out there and get after it. This is Life and Fitness with D. Banks signing off now, see you later.