Diabetes-A growing epidemic!! Did you know your gum tissue affects the ability to monitor and regulate your blood sugar?
Diabetes is a growing problem that now affects over 7% of Americans and is still on the rise. In fact, in the 1980s there were 5 million people diagnosed and now there are over 23 million. About 30% of diabetics are not even diagnosed. The most common reason why there is such a rapid rise in the incidence is because of the sedentary lifestyle that Americans are living. Fast foods, high sugar drinks, lack of exercise has created an obese population. In fact the CDC states that over 26% of Americans are obese (120% of normal body weight)!! Obviously watching diet and exercise can go a long way to a better, healthier body.
What is diabetes? Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone made naturally in the body. When carbohydrates are eaten the body rapidly breaks it down to simple sugars which are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. Insulin is then released in response to the high levels of blood sugar. Insulin allows the sugars to penetrate into the cells of the body when it is needed. Diabetes is therefore the inability of the cells to absorb the blood sugar due to a lack of this insulin
There are three types of diabetes:
- Type 1 is where the body’s immune system actually destroys the cells that make insulin. This is genetic in nature and is usually diagnosed at an early age. It is also the most severe form of diabetes.
- Type 2 is also known as adult onset diabetes. In this situation the body doesn’t create enough insulin. 90-95% of diabetics are type 2, but this number is rising at an alarming rate.
- Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, but after birth the body rebounds back to health.
Diabetics are at risk for blindness, Stroke, amputation of toes and legs, Heart attack, numbness, kidney failure, early death, and periodontal disease. A well controlled diabetic who exercises and eats properly has the same risk of these problems as a healthy individual. It is therefore important to take medicines along with diet and exercise to live a somewhat normal life.
Periodontal (gum) disease is described as a bacterial infection and inflammation of the bone and soft tissues that hold the teeth into the jaw.
Periodontal disease is considered to have a bidirectional relationship with diabetes. In other words diabetes affects the severity and complications of periodontal disease and the periodontal disease affects diabetes and the ability to control blood sugar levels. The national diabetic Association states this and research supports this claim.
The bottom line is that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes you are at risk for periodontal disease. If you have a difficult time in regulating your blood sugar then a periodontal evaluation is critical so that you not only can save your teeth, but potentially save your life.
Do me a favor and mention this article to your physician so that they can also be informed and team up with dentist’s to combat this serious problem.
If you have questions or comments you can email me at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com or phone us at (586)247-3500
If you have diabetes and desire a free consultation please give us a call. We are located in Shelby Township, Michigan at 22 Mile and Hayes in Macomb County.