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Jerry Aragon Ph.D (Phunny humor Doctor)

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Sleep Deprivation and Diabetes (Type 2)
by Jerry Aragon Ph.D (Phunny humor Doctor)   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, February 22, 2013
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2008

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In the year 2012, there's an epidemic of diabetes cases all around the United States! Diabetes is the #8 killer behind, with heart disease and cancer, leading the way, etc. Ten million people in the United States have diabetes...and they don't even know it. That's because they probably don't get a blood test to check it.

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Since I wrote this piece in 2008, it has climbed into the Top 20 of my 360+ articles...not because I wrote it, or because it's good writing...but, because there is INTEREST in this subject.   

*                                     *                              *

My aunt Molly died of diabetes, but before she died in her early fifties, she went blind, and one of her legs was amputated!  Because I have had  elevated sugar level recently...I do NOT want to cross the line and get diabetes!  Diabetes is nothing to mess with, and according to the research I've done, there are 11 million people in the United States that have diabetes...and they don't even know it!

From: One Health Lifestyle.com;
Getting a good night sleep is a breeze for some people, bu there are many more who suffer from sleep disorders.  It is estimated that over 70 million Americans suffer from one or the four most common conditions that disturb to the degree of interupting someone's life!  They include insomnia; sleep apnea; restless legs syndrome; and narcolepsy. 

"Try to achieve the impossible dream...try to sleep."  Joan Kemper

I've suffered from elevated blood sugar and sleep deprivation for about three or four years now.  And, that makes for a toxic mix and worries me!

The year 2012, marks the fourth year I have had problems with sleep, and I've been taking sleep medication to try to sleep better.  Along with that, my doctor told me that all my previous blood tests look like penguins...or clones of each other...all elevated with little improvement, which I'm concerned about, etc. 

I quit smoking in 1970; lost 40 pounds in 2001; I've been jogging 15 miles a week since 1986 (over 17,000 miles)...and now this...elevated blood sugar!  All have taken discipline and sacrifice to accomplish, and dealing with the high blood sugar, is another challange that's going to take discipline and sacrifice!  Life-style changes will have to be in order here, etc.  As I said previously, diabetes is a killer, behind heart-disease and cancer, and I don't want to be one of its victims!

From: Yahoo Health.com; Article written by Joy Bauer;
The most common factors believed to contribute to Type 2 diabetes, have always been too much food and too little exercise.  However, sleep deprivation seems to also play a role in abnormal glucose (blood sugar) metabolism.  According to a study published in the December issue of the journal SLEEP...subjects who reported sleeping five or fewer hours each night, were significantly more likely to have diabetes over the follow-up period compared to the subjects who reported sleeping seven hours.

These findings held true even after the researchers adjusted for variables such as physical activity; depression; alcohol consumption; ethnicity; education; maritial status; age; obesity; and history of hypertension. 

*                             *                             *

Like my mother...I have a sweet-tooth, so sacrifice in going to be a tough call and it won't be easy.  I think this little challange with diabetes, is going to be tougher than quitting smoking or losing weight, etc. 

In August, 2007, I visited the dietician at the VA hospital, and got more information on diet,  It didn't take long to make life-style changes, as candy, ice cream were all out the window!  I made many changes during this time, and I've never done so much lable-reading in my life!  My fear of getting diabetes was more important than eating a candy bar or eating a bowl of ice cream

But, it's not just be the sweets that is the problem...it's the carbohydrates that turn food into sugar (glucose) for the body, that is the biggest problem. There are carbohydrates in almost everything we eat.  Like quitting smoking and losing weight,  I had to put my priorities in order and be disciplined and have the will-power to succeed, as I did in quitting smoking and losing weight, etc. 

From: 60 Minutes; (CBS): 
In June, 2008, I saw a piece on sleep deprivation and diabetes. and I never gave it any thought that sleep deprivation could possibly have anything to do with Type 2 diabetes...but I was wrong.  Because I have been having trouble with sleep for so many years, I took notes during the program and listened carefully, etc.

The scientist (being interviewed) said that we hear about diet and exercise all the time...but, we should be hearing more about diet, exercise and SLEEP all the time, too!  For it is lack of sleep that will affect heart-disease; high-blood pressure; obesity and diabetes, etc.  Scary, eh?

After seeing that news program, I lit up like a Christmas tree, and I couldn't get to the Internet fast enough, to do some research on the correlation between sleep deprivation and diabetes!  What I found was and is amazing!

From: Medicine Net.com;
A study was conducted of 9, 000 U.S. adults... and HALF of those who were sleep-deprived...got diabetes!  Sleep habits have also been linked to diabetes deaths.

"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one."  Leo Burke

Six months after visiting the dietician at the VA, I was looking forward to the blood test in February, 2008, to see how I was doing, with all the life-style changes I had made during the previous six months, etc.  But, I was disappointed in March, 2008, when I learned, that there was not much improvement, and one doctor called what I had a "mild case" of diabetes!  Mild or not...I was not a happy camper!

The best thing for me to do, was to get a second opinion outside the VA, so that's what I did.  The second blood tests at Presbyterian Health were essentially the same as the VA tests...that I was on the line of diabetes.  But, I was not given any medication, and the doctor told me that diet would be the order of the day.  I was glad to hear that. 

During the previous six months, I saw four different doctors regarding my case, and not one said anything about sleep or sleep dis-orders, which may be causing my elevated blood sugar and diabetes, etc.  Sleep madication has been on my chart since 2005, so I was surprised nobody mentioned that lack of sleep could be a risk, etc.  

Like many people, who procrastinate time away, that's what I did with the sleep medication.  When I was in the hospital in 2005, one of the nurses told me that the medication (Trazeone)I was taking would eventally wear out and lose its effect.  So, the first thing I did in April, 2008, was to ask my doctor for a new sleep medication, and since that time, I have slept like a baby for eight hours at a time.  What a joy it is to get a good nights sleep!

I remember back in 2005, I was in the hospital for over three months, and I lost all my possessions, including my computer.  So, I would go to the local community college, to use a computer, etc.  I remember being so sleepy, that I couldn't find a place to sleep, so I would go across the street to the park, and sleep under a shady tree!  I did that over a dozen times, and that was in the summer...I had to find a different tree in the winter...ha-ha!  Over the years, I have had to take naps, for what seems like forever in my battle with sleep problems! 

Maybe...just maybe...sleep deprivation is one of my problems, which has been causing the elevated sugar over the last three years!  And, now, I'm looking forward to the blood tests which will be taken in February, 2009.  Because I'm sleeping better now, I can look forward to getting better results, etc.

After leaving the VA Medical Center (Albuquerque, NM) I took two sleep tests at Presbyterian Health.  The tests revealed that I have sleep apnea.  I just have to deal with it, etc.

From: WebMD;  Diabetes and sleep...what's the connection?
"
Sleep is an important factor for your health, as much as diet and exercise." says University of Chicago researcher Kristen Knutson, Ph.D., who has studied sleep and diabetes." 

In the past decade, there has been growing evidence that too little sleep, can affect hormones and metabolism in ways that promote diabetes, Knutson tells WebMD.  She cites a 1996 Lancet Study by colleagues at the University of Chicago.  The researchers monitored the blood sugar levels of 11 healthy young men who were allowed only four hours of sleep per night...from 1 AM to 5 AM for a total of six nights.  "The study showed that after only a week of short bedtime, their glucose tolerance was impaired.  There could be dramatic effects, even after only a week." according to Knutson.

After 6 nights of little sleep, the men had higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.  (the levels were not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, however)  The effects went away once they were back on their normal sleep schedule.

Experts also believe that chronic sleep deprivation may lead to elevated levels of the stress hormone...cortisol.  Elevated cortisol may, in turn, promote insulin resistance, in which the body can't use the hormone insulin properly to help move glucose into the cells for energy.  "That's on the pathway to developing diabetes." Knutson tells WebMD. 

Further study shows that sleep loss reduces levels of the hormone leptin, and appetite suppressant, which boosting the levels of ghrelin...an appetite stimulant.  That's a poor combination that may prompt people to eat more.  And, most sleep deprived people don't snack on fruits and vegetables, Knutson points out.  Instead, they tend to crave high carbohydrate foods such as salty, fatty potato chips.  This is not just bad for your waistline, but also for your diabetes outlook.  "If you add overweight to the mix, you could possible increase your risk of developing diabetes."  Knutson says.

From: Science Daily: Insufficient Sleep Risks of Diabetes, Study Suggests; 
Lawrence Epstein, MD, Medical Director of the SleepCenters; an instructor at Harvard Medical School; a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine; (AASM) and a member of the AASM board of directors, said that this study is one of several large studies, that have shown, that people who don't get enough sleep
have  higher rates of diabetes.

"Restricting sleep to four hours a night for only a few days, causes abnorman glucose metabolism, suggesting the mechanism for increased rates of diabetes in sleep deprived individuals," said Dr. Epstein.  "Additionally, sleep disorders that disrupt sleep such as obstructive sleep apnea, also increase the likelihood of developing diabetes."

Treating the sleep disorders improves glucose metabolism and diabetes control.  These studies underscore the fact that sleep is integral part to good health. 

My Two-Cents; (Opinion/layman's terms:
Most of us are not medical/technical professionals, and all we can do is to offer our opinion in layman's terms, and I'll offer mine

pancreas; (definition) a gland situated near the stomach, that secreats digestive fluid into the intestines, through one of more ducts, and also creates the hormone insulin;

I interpret all this to mean, that because of sleep deprivation by the individual, the pancreas becomes dysfunctional  (to a degree) and does not work as it should.  It does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin, to have the balance needed with the glucose that is produced by the body, etc.  Therefore, there is an over-abundance (imbalance)of glucose (sugar) and that's where the problem lies.

I have written two other articles on the subject of diabetes, in which the reader may be interested in and are as follows:

Ten Million Americans Have Diabetes and Don't Know It.  http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?id=39435

Diabetes On the Rise;  http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?id=45316

How serious can sleep deprivation be?

From: AOL Health:  A Guide to Improving Sleep:
Sleep deprivation has played a role in catastrophies such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the Alaska coast; the space shuttle Challenger disaster; and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. 

Michael Jackson;  It was sleep problems that killed Michael Jackson...and it became apparent, that he was in trouble, when he started taking larger doses of medication and taking shots.  His doctor was convicted of wrong-doing in the matter that went to trial. and his doctor is currently in jail.

*                              *                               *

I read a couple of articles recently, that stated that stress and depression are at an all time high all across the country.  And, I can see why...with all the job layoffs; the financial melt-down; foreclosures; so many uncertainties...Americans have a lot to worry about, and I'm sure there are many sleepness nights, etc.   

Over the last 3-4 years, the stress and depression that have caused me many sleepless nights include: homelessness (6 weeks); heart-failure; 3 months in hospital; pace-maker implant; lost all my possessions; bankruptcy; declared disabled by the VA and Social Security; 3 year fight with VA over pension termination, etc.  Now, that all these negatives are behind me, I hope for better sleep.  

My health has always been my top priority.  How can anyone have a quality of life, if they're worried or sick all the time?  If something is wrong with me, I want to know about it, so I can do something about it EARLY!  Hopefully, the blood tests that will be done in February, 2009...will show improvement...I certainly hope so! 

In October, 2012, I got a new primary doctor, and the blood tests showed a spike in the diabetes A1C.  Where I was getting good numbers in this category (A1C) , like 5.9; and 6.1...I now saw two numbers I didn't like...8.7 and 9.0 on the A1C.  I am not a happy camper about these elevated numbers...but, I have not been sleeping well recently, so I MUST stay with it. 

*                              *                             *

I've been jogging 15 miles a week since 1986, and I've been pumping aluminum for exercise, too.  I weigh 170 pounds, so I told my doctor, that I point the finger (pricked finger) at sleep deprivation, because I've had sleep problems for about three years, and she agreed with me.  When we get the sleep problems fixed...than I think the diabetes numbers will come down, too...or at least I hope so!  (2009) 

March and June, 2009:  Two sleep tests were taken: The results; sleep apnea

What is the best thing a person can do with their health?  Get a check-up and a blood test, that way you can find out early-on if there's something wrong with you, and you can get started early.    There's nothing worse...than not knowing!

Without sounding over-dramatic or sensational, this is a case of life and death!  Diabetes is the #7 killer in the United States, and millions of Americans have diabetes...and don't know it! 

ADVICE:  Get a blood test and find out where you stand! 

UPDATE:  October, 2012;
Not good news,
as my A1C has spiked to 8.7 and 9.0.  I'm back on medication, and I still think lack of sleep is the culprit. 

As my sleep has improved over the past two years...the numbers on diabetes and the A1C have leveled off and dropped as well.  Because I am not overweight or obese, I point the finger to sleep deprivation as the cause of the diabetes.  It took me a year to quit smoking; it took me a year to lose 40 pounds; and I have been in this diabetes for over two years.  I think one of the most important qualities a person can have and exercise is...patience!  Stay with it and be patient! 

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Copyright; 2009; Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor

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