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Diabetes and Diet: A Type 2 Patient's Successful Efforts at Control

In managing diabetes the patient holds the key. Physicians and others can explain effects and make recommendations, but as yet there is no magic pill to cure diabetes. Once diabetic patients accept responsibility for their care, however, I believe good blood glucose (BG) control is possible for many.

The body includes numerous complex chemical control systems, many of which are adaptive. One of the body's systems controls BG levels when ingested food is converted into glucose. The hormone insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas and helps transport glucose into various body cells. Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), occurs when inadequate insulin is produced, or the body's cells have a reduced ability to use the insulin that is produced (insulin resistance), or combinations of these two limitations. Ways of combating these limitations are addressed.

In engineering it is common to characterize the performance of a machine by establishing what happens to the output for various inputs while other parameters remain nearly constant. The same characterization process can be applied to the human body. I am a 68-year old research engineer who has had type 2 diabetes for more than 7 years. By simply treating my body as a machine and determining input (food) to output (BG level) I was able to characterize my basic glucose control system and from that knowledge take steps to maintain good BG control. Tests on a single diabetic person have limited statistical significance because of individual variations; however, as with any machine, some of the basic issues are readily defined.

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Diabetes and Diet: A Type 2 Patient's Successful Efforts at Control