Welfare Notes - February 2004

February, 2004

The SUP Welfare Plan has become aware of more medical claims being processed for the treatment of diabetes for both active members as well as retirees. The onset of type 2 adult diabetes has become almost epidemic in the last few years. Diabetes can increase your risk for heart disease and strokes. In fact, people with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke than people without diabetes.

Diabetes can hit people in all age groups and races. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as well as the aged population are becoming more and more susceptible to the disease.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the main fuel for the cells in your body, and insulin takes sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells it can cause two problems. Right away your cells may be starved for energy or overtime high glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, or heart. Too much insulin and too much glucose in the blood are traits of a condition called insulin resistance. Eventually the pancreas may fail from the strain, insulin production ceases and the result is type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes increases as excess body weight and age increase. Most overweight or obese people are insulin resistant. Since being even 10 to 20 pounds overweight can be enough to set off type two diabetes staying in good physical condition becomes very important.

There are ways to offset this deadly disease. The time you spend now on eye care, foot care and skin care, as well as your heart and oral health, could delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Some of the best things you can do now is to stop smoking and cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink.

It is important to make appropriate lifestyle changes. By maintaining a healthy meal plan and increasing physical activity you can reduce your chances of contracting this disease. Being at sea is a perfect time to start this program. The ships offer a wide selection of menu items that will allow you to eat good foods. Most of our ships have very well equipped gyms and exercise equipment that will allow you to start a work out regimen to fit you. The most important thing is become aware of the dangers of type 2 diabetes and what you can do to combat this disease.