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Scandinavia and type 2 diabetes

Updated on February 16, 2010

Scandinavians are known pretty much for their interest in outdoor sports. Children have skiing at school and running is a part of their school sports program. Or at least i thought it was still standard until i realised that more and more children are becoming bigger and young adults as young as 20 are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Although this illness is pretty much connected to lifestyle there are, however, some patients who are genetically made up for developing the disease in older age.

Why should people be so concerned with this illness, especially as many don't even know they have it?

Surely they can live with this if they don't need to inject themselves with insulin each day to stayt alive.

Sure they can but this illness can be controlled and if it is not it is even more like the ticking bomb waiting to throw lives into devastation and heartache.

A previously healthy person ( and lets look at the person who is not genetically affected ) through their lifestyle is setting themselves up for a multitude of diseases. Here are a list of some:

Hypertension ( High blood pressure)

Hyperglycemia ( Too much sugar in the blood)

Insulin Resistance ( The muscle cells are unable to take up glucose for energy)

Atherosclerosis ( Clogging of the arteries)

Central obesity ( Gaining of weight especially around the belly )

Dyslipidemia ( Cholesterol problems )

All of these problems can lead in the worst case scenario to early death, strokes , heart attacks and heart failure. Not to mention blindness, feet problems, amputations and many other delibitating illnesses.

Many of associate these problems with the elderly but believe me, there are many in their forties and fifties with heart failure because of the neglect and mistreatment of their bodies throughout their teenage and younger years.

In Norway a national strategy for the prevention of diabetes was developed during 2006 and 2010. A working group was developed and they followed guidelines which were released by the international diabetes federation ( IDF), The American diabetes Association ( ADA ) and the Scottish Intercollegiate guidelines network ( SIGN )

Why was this necessary?

Well it was seen that costs tied up to diabetes in the health sector were mainly due to complications of the illness.

It was seen that in 2007 more men in their twenties and older were being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than women. Insulin resistance was also an area that was increasing.

In the East of Oslo amongst people aged 30 to 67 their were 7% men and 3% women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Even though statistics show that more people are physically training it is thought that daily activities are reducing.

Snacks are being made so attractive and technology is taking over for outdoor activities. Do these two factors play a role in the increase of weight problems amongst teenagers?

Is this where the trend is being set for future obesity?

How easy is it to go down in weight once you have reached a size you are no longer satisfied with?

How easy is it to pass by the burger shop on the way home from a computer game night or cinema trip to see the latest HD movie?

Why are men being diagnosed more with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance than women?

So many questions.

The one thing we do know is that when you gain weight then your intake of energy is larger than your output. We also know that overweight is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.

Therefore if you want to guard yourself from this disease and don't have any genetic history, good habits have to be developed fairly early in life.

It is not impossible to do something about it if you have reached the obese stage but it will take alot more effort and willpower to succeed.

It can be worthwhile but you have to be prepaired for a total tunraround and change in lifestyle.

You cannot go into this half heartedly, you have to really want it and you have to believe that your heart is the object being protected.

We are not only talking only about giving you a longer life by as much as ten to twenty years, but are also protecting you from possible diseases such as blindness and ulcerated legs which may lead to pain and suffering and in the worst case amputation.

Quality of life is so important for many of us, if we can avoid getting sick due to our lifestyles then we owe it to ourselves to change.

If you already are diagnosed with diabetes type 2 there is medication which can be taken orally to help reduce your HBA1c.

Glitazones do have some side effects but overall they have been scientifically proven to have greater benefits.

Pioglitazone has been shown to reduce the HBA1c with as much as 1.5 and also keep the effect over as much as 3 years and more.

Pioglitazone has also been shown to give a better lipid profile which means less harmfull cholesterol or fat in the blood. This fat as you know is an early warning of pending heart disease.No other glitazone gives this protection.

Some problems seen are that women in their menopausal years and older are more prone to fractures in the upper arm. Although this does not happen to everyone on this medication and we know that many woman who are not diabetics also can break their arms.

The bones may get a bit softer with age but the benefits of a lower blood cholestorol and lower HBA1c definately outweigh the negative in my point of view.

Patients with heart failure must not use glitazones but people suffering from earlier strokes are indicated to use pioglitazone with benefits whereby they are protected with up to 47 % of having another stroke. ( ProActive study)

Finally i will mention that weight can increase when using glitazones but stop and think!

If this is the only reason for not using pioglitazone then think again. If this medication helps your skeletal muscle to take in the so much needed sugar, then you are doing your body a big favour:

1. You remove more sugar from the blood

2. You get more energy as sugar is the bodily fuel

3. The reason for weight increase is that water follows the sugar so the cell will be better hydrated.

4. More energy to tackle the exercise programme to go down in weight

5. Better energy leads to better humour.

By lowering your HBA1c with only 1% you can reduce the risk of :

An early death

Microvascular complications leading to hard to heal wounds.

Myocardial infarction.

Amputations due to peripheral vascular disease.


Are these reasons enough to change your lifestyle?  i hope so.


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