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Diabetes: a growing epidemic

Every day, approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes, and almost 16 million people in the United States have the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is either a shortage of insulin or a decreased ability to use insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and it allows glucose (sugar) to enter cells and be converted to energy.


Auto-immune disease in which the body does not produce any insulin, most often occurring in children and young adults. Its appearance is suspected to follow exposure to an "environmental trigger", such as an unidentified virus that stimulates an immune attack against the beta cells of the pancreas in some genetically predisposed people.


Metabolic disorder resulting from the body’s inability to make enough, or properly use, insulin and it accounts for 90-95% of diagnoses. Type 2 occurs mostly in older adults, and is often associated with obesity and lack of physical activity. American Diabetes Association noted, "Type 2 diabetes is increasing at an ‘alarming rate’ in teens and children who are overweight and inactive."

AM I AT RISK FOR diabetes?

Risk factors include

  • Family History of Diabetes
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Prior History of Gestational Diabetes
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Race / Ethnicity

Diabetes affects multiple systems in the body, including the cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Untreated diabetes can cause glucose (sugar) to build up in your bloodstream, which can lead to more serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage affecting the arms and legs), and lower-extremity amputations.

Exercise and good nutrition is a strong intervention. Both help decrease the risk of diabetes by helping the patient lose weight and keeping their glucose levels under control.

Ptmagazine’s For Your Health (2001) p.14

Who’s at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which once-strong bones become brittle, fragile, and more likely to break. Most susceptible are the hip, spine, and wrist. Warning signs of osteoporosis in both men and women are a loss of height, a change in posture, and sudden back pain.

Although men typically have larger, stronger bones than women, 2 million men have osteoporosis and another 3.6 million have low bone density. One in eight men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture, and men account for one-third of all hip fractures.

Eight million women have osteoporosis and 14.4 million have low bone density. Women who experience early menopause, or pre-menopausal women who have undergone a total hysterectomy, are at risk for low bone density. Also at risk are adolescents who have eating disorders or who dabble with crash dieting.

Adults with irritable bowel syndrome are often at risk because of the medications they take and decrease calcium absorption in the colon. Low-calcium diets, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and use of certain medications such as corticosteroids and anticonvulsants are risk factors for everyone, regardless of age or sex.


Osteoporosis can often be prevented with a combination of exercise, good posture, good diet, and lifestyle changes. And people who already have osteoporosis or low bone mass—or who are at high risk for developing it—can often remain active and mobile with proper management.

Develop an exercise program with the assistance of a physical therapist. Help increase bone density with proper strengthening and weight-bearing exercises; lessen stress on bones through improved balance, posture, and body mechanics; and identify potential hazards that could lead to fractures.

The foundation for strong bones is laid during childhood and adolescence when calcium is deposited in greater quantities than it is needed. Around age 30, the pattern reverses, and the body removes more than it deposits. Regular exercise and a good diet with enough calcium should minimize calcium depletion from the bone.

Public Information > Physical Therapy and Your Body > Osteoporosis

Healthy Ways

Issue 1 February 2002



Self-Assesssment Quiz

This quiz is designed to increase your knowledge and awareness of your overall health, and to highlight potential areas of concern. This will show you where you are making healthy choices and where there is room for improvement. Keep in mind that although health risks associated with age, gender, and heredity are beyond your control, you can modify a range of other factors such as blood pressure, smoking, blood cholesterol levels, exercise, diet, stress, and excess body weight.

How Much Should

You Weigh?

If you exceed your ideal weight by 20 percent or more, you are seriously endangering your health. The preferred way to figure out your healthy weight is to calculate your body mass index.

Calculate your body mass index by following these steps:

1. Convert your weight to kilograms, divide pounds by 2.2 _______

2. Convert your height to meters, divide inches by 39.4 _______ then square (multiply it by it) _______

3. Body Mass, divide (1) by (2) _______

For men, desirable body mass is 22-24. Above 28.5 is overweight; 33+ is seriously overweight.

For women, desirable body mass is 21-23. Above 27.5 is overweight; 31.5+ is seriously overweight.

Wellness Encyclopedia, 1991

Myths about Weight Control

Eating grapefruit burns away fat.

Taking diet pills is a good way to lose weight.

Your stomach shrinks when you eat less.

Fasting can lead to permanent weight loss.

Toast is less fattening then bread.

Celery has "negative calories."

Potatoes are fattening.

Removing cellulite requires special treatment.

Electric muscle stimulators can make you trim.

You must give up all sweets to lose weight.




Eating fruit can be good for you. But there is nothing in grapefruit that will digest calories faster.

Only reformed & nutritious eating habits can take weight off and keep it off.

Your stomach expands when you overeat, but it returns to normal size when it is empty.

Rapid weight lost with fasting is fluid, minerals, and some lean muscle tissue. Fasting has to last a long time before fat is expended.

Calories remain the same in bread or toast. Water is only lost in toasting.

More Facts:

An eight-inch stalk of celery has only 6 calories.

A five-ounce baked potato has about 130 calories. Potatoes have no fat, and no cholesterol, low in sodium, and high in fiber. It’s not the potato that’s fattening, but how you cook it & top it.

Exercise & proper diet will help get rid of all fat, not just cellulite.

Save your money. Electric muscle stimulators burn about 6 calories for ½ hour usage. Spot reduction is a myth, the body draws energy from overall the body, not just the exercised spot.

January 2002 p2

A reasonable amount of sweets in a weight-loss plan may help to ensure that a diet will succeed.

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits that you can stick to for a lifetime.



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