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Stress, cortisol, abdominal fat, and developing diabetes

An article by Howard Cohen discusses stress and its effect on individuals, including the development of diabetes. Here a synopsis of the article's main points.

1. Stress affects the endocrine system and weakens it.

2. Continued stress can affect cortisol levels and the result can be added weight and cardiovascular problems.

3. Chronic stress actually has the effect of stimulating increased fat deposits in the abdominal area. Excess abdominal fat, of course, has been linked to the development of diabetes.

4. Approximately 75 percent of Americans feel stressed about their finances and, surprise surprise, diabetes is on a significant rise.

Other recent articles about diabetes have focused on the fact that abdominal obesity is linked to type II diabetes, that chronic insufficient sleep may exacerbate it, and that the simple act of walking about 45 minutes per day can minimize the condition.

Type I diabetes is one thing altogether. But if you'll notice, so many things tie together when it comes to the onset and development of type II diabetes: Mood, diet, nutrition, exercise (or lack of). And so I think we can actually formulate a short guide to either avoid the onset of this condition, or at least help to manage its progression.

1. Relax. However you choose to do this, find a way to relax and keep your stress levels low. Of course, some great ways to do this are to engage others socially and to do things that aren't related to the aspects of your life that cause stress (typically work related). In other words, go out with friends, do fun things with your significant other, participate in activities that you enjoy and/or find meaning in. And don't sweat the small stuff. Because it could kill you.

2. Do things in moderation. That means, don't drink too much, don't eat too much, and when it comes to foods that are known to be unhealthy (high glycemic value, or high fat, or lots of additives), eat them sparingly.

3. Pay attention to your health. That means watching your diet, of course, but it also means getting regular check-ups and doing what it takes to stay physically fit. Regarding the former, there are probably tons of people out there walking around with diabetes and high blood pressure who could get properly treated for these conditions...if they only knew they had them. Repeat: go to the doctor for check-ups. Regarding the latter, if you feel out of shape, see your weight creeping up, or notice that your shadow is "fuller", do something. Ride a bike, go to the gym, take walks. You don't have to engage in panic-driven, faddish marathons of physical activity. But if you become more active, you'll probably become more fit and be more likely to drop the weight that may be pushing you towards type II diabetes (not to mention high blood pressure).

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