Herewith is an article written by Helen Grange:
Link Between Trauma and Diabetes
Various studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between trauma and physical illness. Extremely stressful and traumatic experiences have been proven to cause an increased risk of everything from headaches to cardiovascular problems and even obesity. A new study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, has shown that there is also a significant link between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in women.
The study is one of the first longitudinal studies into PTSD and the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in a sample of civilian women. It looked into the association between symptoms of PTSD, and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes over a 22-year period. The results showed that women with the highest number of PTSD symptoms had a nearly two-fold greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, compared to women who had not been through trauma. The researchers recommended that medical professionals treating women PTSD take into account that these patients were at an increased risk both of a higher body mass index, and of Type 2 diabetes. Any treatment for PTSD, they said, should therefore involve addressing the particular health behaviors that contribute to obesity and chronic illness.
Prevention should begin with weight control. Simply being obese makes one up to 40 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than those with a healthy weight. Those who are overweight can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by half, if they lose 10 per cent of their current weight. Inactivity also contributes to diabetes; those with PTSD should give their muscles a regular workout, to improve their ability to absorb glucose and utilise insulin at an optimal level. The Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study suggests¡ that just walking briskly for half an hour every day reduces our chance of contracting diabetes by an impressive 30 per cent. Keep inactivity levels to a minimum; every couple of hours sitting idly before the television can also significantly increase your chance of developing serious disease.
When it comes to diet, drastic changes aren’t necessary, unless your diet is rich in sugary foods, in which case you will have to commit to forgoing these foods. Follow these tips and keep diabetes at bay:
- Avoid highly processed foods and starches: Sugar and refined starches (breads, biscuits, most cereals, cakes, pastry, white rice, potatoes, etc.) shunt vast amounts of glucose into your system, stimulating the production of insulin and leading to a state known as insulin resistance. To keep glucose levels stable and energy levels optimal throughout the day, consume whole grains and whole grain products instead. Studies have shown that women who eat two or three servings of whole grains daily, are 30 per cent less likely to develop diabetes. Avoid white rice; regular consumption can increase your diabetes risk by a whopping 36 per cent!
- Avoid soda and other sweetened beverages: The average can of soda contains a heavy glycemic load. By drinking just one or more of these drinks a day, you can increase your diabetes risk by an unacceptable 83 per cent, according to the Nurses’ Health Study II.
- Don’t overdo your red meat intake: One statistical summary of the Nurses’ Healthy Study I and II looked at data obtained from around 440.000 people, about 28,000 of which went on to develop diabetes during the study period. Researchers found that eating just one small steak a day increased the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes by 20 per cent. The case is even worse for processed red meat (e.g. bacon, ham, sausages), which increase the likelihood by 51 per cent.
In addition to following the above tips, cook or dress your food with healthy fats, making sure to stock up on your Omega-3s. These essential fatty acids, found in walnuts, salmon and other fatty fish, won’t stave off diabetes, but they will prevent heart disease, and unlike trans fats (found in margarine and many store bought crackers and pastries, to name just a few items), they will stop you from packing on the pounds, which is an important preventive step in itself. You should also avoid smoking, which raises your risk of developing diabetes significantly. Wine is acceptable to drink, but keep your consumption moderate; excess alcohol can raise your diabetes risk as well.