November Awareness Month


November Awareness Month

When I first started writing these blogs I was a little apprehrensive. There were many reasons why but the main one being that my degree is in medicine and not physical therapy. While we are educated extensively on the musculoskeletal system and its various conditions I am not an expert on rehab and PT.  So with that being said I came to Chris with an idea that would let me be true to myself as a practioner as well as educate and write blogs that you could relate too. What I decided to do was once a month I will write a blog that will correspond with a correlating “Awareness Month” and try to tailor it towards Crossfit. I am a firm believer that living a “healthy lifestyle” is both a function of exercise and staying active as well as taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. I am not saying that we all need to take it to an extreme and live in a bubble, but with the education and advances we have now we basically have no excuse not to make the right decision when it comes to our bodies.

SOOO for the month of November I am going to talk about Diabetes!! Growing up I knew a little about Diabetes and what it all entails. Unfortunately Type 1 diabetes runs in my family and I have had family members who have directly been affected by this disease. While there are 2 different forms of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, I would like to focus more on Type 2 (most importantly risk factors, complications and prevention) since this is the most common form and the one that we can potentially prevent. So here we go…


What is Diabetes:

Type 2 Diabetes is a lifelong chronic disease in which there are high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Glucose is a main source of energy for the cells in our muscles and other tissues. It comes from two major sources: the food you eat and your liver. After intestinal digestion and absorption, sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Normally, sugar then enters cells with the help of insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin or your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.

Random Fact: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and this does not include the 7 million that are currently undiagnosed.


So when all of the glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into cells you are slowly causing damage to your entire body and this is what leads to diabetes complications. Despite what people think there is no “cure” for Type 2 diabetes, as well as Type 1, and if left untreated it can be life threatening. I am sure everyone has heard of people who have reversed their Type 2 diabetes with weight loss and diet change, and while this is possible the majority of the time I am treating patients where this is not an option and now it is just a matter of preventing further damage.


The biggest misconception out there is that diabetes is just a “sugar” problem. I hear this every day and it I am not going to lie it drives me crazy! One of the hardest things you can hear as a practioner is when a patient tells you “I just didn’t feel like taking my medication” or “Its not like I am going to die from diabetes.” It takes everything I have not to scream and tell people that every day you ignore your high glucose levels (hyperglycemia) or decide against taking your medication you are potentially turning yourself into a ticking time bomb. If left uncontrolled diabetes can affect nearly every major organ in your body, and let me tell you it is not pretty or fun.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.


Risk Factors

What most people don’t understand is that Type 2 Diabetes is not 100% genetic. Almost everyday I see someone who wants to be tested because everyone in their family has it and they have just accepted the fact that they have it or will get it. Just because your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, etc have diabetes this does not mean that you are going to join the club. While family history is a risk factor it is not a reason to roll over and live an unhealthy lifestyle and just wait to be handed down your diagnosis.

To list a few here are the most recognized risk factors:

  • Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Fat distribution. If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of type 2 diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere, such as your hips and thighs. (aka apple body shape, not to be mistaken with the infamous song Apple Bottom Jeans by T-Pain
  • Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are.
  • Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases, as you get older, especially after age 45. That’s probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults. (don’t even get me started on this)
  • Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were   pregnant, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), you’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes. (Another reason why men have no idea how lucky they have it!!)



Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you’re feeling fine. However every day your sugar is out of control you are doing damage to your body and once the complications start popping up it is hard to turn back. Controlling your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications.

Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure. The risk of stroke is two to four times higher for people with diabetes, and the death rate from heart disease is two to four times higher for people with diabetes than for people without the disease.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Poorly controlled blood sugar can eventually cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue (yes that’s right erectile dysfunction).
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy).The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant
  • Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. It can also increase your risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
  •  Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections. Severe damage might require toe, foot or even leg amputation. (More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.) If this doesn’t scare you then just goggle pictures of “diabetic ulcer.”
  • Skin and mouth conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Osteoporosis. Diabetes may lead to lower than normal bone mineral density, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. This leads to increase risk of fracture! Hip fractures in general are extremely dangerous as you age and increase your risk of death. Approximately 15-20% of patients die within 1 year of fracture.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
  • Hearing problems. Diabetes can also lead to hearing impairment.




Now that I am done being a Debbie Downer I want to share what we can do to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Even if diabetes runs in your family, diet and exercise can help you prevent the disease and if you have already been diagnosed the same lifestyle choices can help you prevent complications. It is never too early to start adopting a healthy lifestyle so that you can avoid taxing your pancreas.

  1. Eat healthy foods. Choose foods low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For every 1,000 calories you consume, try to have at least 14 grams of fiber, because fiber helps control blood sugar levels.
  2. Get physical. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride a bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, spread 10-minute or longer sessions throughout the day.
  3. Lose excess pounds. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes

And last but not least get tested… A simple blood test is all you need and the sooner you know the sooner you can start taking care of yourself.

A little harsh? Sorry!!!


Workout of the Day: 27 November 12


A) 20 min to establish 1 RM

Strict Press

*back off to 80% AMAP


B) Super Tabata

Row for calories: 8 rounds, 40 sec on, 20 sec of


C) 3 Rounds untimed

ME strict pull-ups + kipping pull-ups

10 Pendlay Row AHAP

15 GHD Situps



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