It’s a Journey – The Exit Toward Diabetes

Happens all the time. In fact it happened to me. I start developing neuropathy in my feet and I ask the wrong doctor about it. That’s a complicated story but anyway he asks me, “Are you diabetic?”

I say “No.” Turned out I was well down the road but didn’t know it. The thing is that full blown diabetes will not be diagnosed until two or three things happen.

First you have to be getting blood work ordered by a doctor. Anybody who never visits a doctor unless they are sick with symptoms isn’t getting blood work. Second the “glucose” measurement on that blood work will be above the magic number, 126.

The third diagnosis can happen when you have a health crisis which forces you to the doctor. Forcing circumstances are usually attached to pain.

Pain comes with stuff like car wrecks, chest pain or heart attacks, can’t see, joint/stomach/headache pain, neuropathy, sinus infections, infection that won’t heal and turns into an amputation, kidney disease, fatty liver disease, a viral infection (like COVID 19) that lands you in the hospital, even dementia.

Blood Tests

You don’t just jump from perfectly fine to glucose of 126 overnight. You creep up on it. Winter creeps up on us, temperatures start going down, leaves change color and start to fall, some plants die. And then, voila’, it snows and winter has arrived.

Those periodic blood tests, the ones you may not be getting, will show the creep. Somewhere along the way your creep reaches what is called “prediabetes” and some doctor may suggest you lose some weight and watch your diet. Others will wait until you reach 126 to mention it.

Long before you hit the magic number you have exited the main highway and are now on the frontage road creeping toward diabetes, dragging all those other health problems along the way.

Young people are the worst. It takes a while to feel the pain attached to the creep. Young people are pretty sure they have better things to do with their money than go to a doctor when they aren’t sick. Older people have departed the early creep stage, encountered the pain, are visiting the doctor regularly and on medication.

My column is published in several newspapers. Wonder how many young people you know read the newspaper or are searching around on the internet for something that might be wrong.

Are we to conclude that being old is what makes you sick? Nope! The inflammations making the older people make regular visitors to the doctor started when they were young. It’s a creep, a creep attached to increasing and persistent inflammation.

Avoiding the Creep

So now what do we know?

Inflammation is step one in immune response. The large majority of the immune system resides in the digestive system, ready and waiting for something to trigger an immune response. Triggers are always digestive and/or pathogens like viruses and bacteria,

Immune system failures happen due to the food consumed and the absence of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and hormones, all made worse by stress and poor sleep.

Anything that creates chronic (ongoing) inflammation in the intestines damages the intestinal lining and can allow “undesirable” stuff to escape into the blood stream. The result will be chronic inflammation throughout the body and an overwhelmed immune system.

Everything that causes diabetes and other chronic conditions falls into that description.

————————————————————————————Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. Her website is She can be contacted at, 501-605-3902. Her Facebook page is