Eat and drink wisely over Christmas through New Year's Day‏

Eat and drink wisely over Christmas through New Year's Day‏
By Dr.Oliver Verbe Birnso, MD

Bitherapca Health, my HealthTips blog, wishes everyone of you, consumers and non-consumers, alike, a very merry Christmas, a remarkable Ngonnso festival and a prosperous New Year, with this one on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Have fun on the occasion, commemorating the birth of our Lord.

When you eat, food is either burnt down, or is stored as fat, if in excess. If our metabolism is high, we burn food faster. High metabolism can be due to properly functioning thyroid, good immune system, properly functioning brain or physical activity.

When we continue to eat more, we store excess food as fat and this storage is promoted by insulin. Fat, especially cholesterol, lodges in blood vessels, causing them to narrow down and this leads to hypertension, setting the stage for stroke and heart attack.

Pretty soon fat cells become saturated with fat and, because of this, insulin no longer promotes glucose uptake into cells and its subsequent conversion into fat, as these cells run out of storage space. This is called insulin resistance. Exercise will will burn down fat and create more storage space for glucose uptake.

Excess fat also impairs protein, and hence insulin, synthesis. Eventually, excess glucose damages insulin secreting cells in the pancreas and this further reduces the quantity and quality of insulin being produced.

The three factors, of insulin resistance, due to ineffectiveness of insulin, seen as its failure to cause the removal glucose from blood into tissue, and decreased synthesis of quality insulin, from damage to insulin cells, lead to type II diabetes mellitus. Hence, in obesity, both the quantity and quality of insulin are reduced.

Fat cells also secrete substances that cause direct damage to body tissues, especially seen in the liver, and this is a factor in cancer.

These series of conditions which result in excessive fat accumulation are referred to as metabolic syndrome.
If caught early and appropriate measures like exercise and reduced calorie intake, are taken, we can succeed to adequately reverse the trend and prevent the development of full-blown type II diabetes mellitus, which is irreversible.

Whether, we are still in the pre-diabetic, metabolic syndrome, stage or are already diabetic, exercise is still very useful to us as it does not only help burn down fat and create more storage space, but it also reduces further damage of insulin cells, due to excess glucose, as well as increases non-insulin dependent glucose uptake into the muscle to be burnt to feed the rising metabolism in activity.

It has been shown that people eat superfluously over this festive season and gain weight and then struggle, without any success, to shed it. Obese people, who do not have well controlled blood sugar may run into severe diabetic crises, glucose intolerance, that does not respond to any therapy, for want of fat storage space, and succumb to it.

Dr Oliver Verbe Birnso, MD

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