The silent epidemic

The silent epidemic

Excerpt from Saipan News

This year I will qualify for senior citizen discounts at the theater, which means I’m officially an old person. However, my goal is to stay mentally and physically young as long as possible. In order to do that, I’ve started researching information to help achieve optimal health and I recently found an interesting article about Kevin Patterson, a former CNMI physician, and his new book Consumption.

Patterson stated that type 2 diabetes historically did not exist about 70 or 80 years ago. He believes the rise of obesity, especially the accumulation of abdominal fat, induces change in our receptors that cause them to be numb to the effects of insulin. The body compensates for this by having the pancreas secrete larger amounts of insulin to regulate the high blood sugar. The constant strain on the pancreas causes it to falter in the ability to secrete enough insulin and this is when diabetes develops.

Patterson believes that “the increase in abdominal fat has driven the epidemic of diabetes over the last 40 years in the developed world.” He continues, “I worked [on] Saipan, which is in the Marianas Island in the Pacific, and there, the dialysis population was increasing at about 18 percent a year, all as a consequence of diabetes and acculturation.

“When you look at the curves, it’s clear how unsustainable it is. In 20 or 30 years, everybody on the island will either be a dialysis patient or a dialysis nurse unless something fundamental is done about the rise in diabetes.”

Read the full article…