MIchael Hunter, MD on Medika Life

Coffee Lower Diabetes Risk, But There’s a Catch

DO YOU DRINK COFFEE? IF YES, you may have a significantly lower probability of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee consumption is inversely associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes in a dose-response manner: The more you drink, the lower the risk.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease associated with high rates of health problems and early death. More specifically, diabetes is several diseases that center on problems with the hormone insulin.

The pancreas is an organ situated at the top part of your abdomen. Typically, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to help us store and use the sugar and fat from the food we consume. Diabetes can happen when the pancreas makes very little or no insulin; alternatively, the body may not respond appropriately to insulin.

Currently, there is no cure for diabetes. Those with the condition need to manage the chronic disease to optimize health.

Diabetes is common

The incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide and is estimated to reach 366 million by 2030, from 171 million in 2000. The prevalence is rising more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries.

The prevalence of diabetes worldwide was approximately 2.8 percent in 2000 and may rise to 4.4 percent by 2030.

For those with type 2 diabetes, the risk of blindness, kidney disease, and amputation is 20 to 40 times higher than that of those without diabetes. I addition, those with the disease have a two to five times higher risk of heart attack and a two to three times higher risk of stroke.

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

Diabetes symptoms

Early diagnosis may occur through relatively inexpensive testing of blood sugar. Here are some symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes:

  • Hunger and fatigue. If you don’t make enough insulin (or your cells resist the insulin you make), the glucose cannot get into the cells, and your energy drops. These phenomena can make you feel hungrier and more tired.
  • Peeing more often and being thirstier.
  • Itchy skin and dry mouth. As your body is using fluids to create extra pee, you have less moisture for other things and can become dehydrated.
  • Blurred vision. With changes in your body’s fluid levels, the lenses of your eyes can swell. This swelling causes a change in shape and trouble focusing.
  • Yeast infections. Yeast thrives on glucose. Both men and women can get fungal infections in any moist, warm fold of skin (for example, under the breasts, in and around sex organs, and between the fingers and toes).
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts. High blood glucose (sugar) can affect your blood flow and cause nerve damage. This damage can make wound healing more challenging.
  • Leg or feet pain or numbness as a product of nerve damage.
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction.

With this significant disease burden, we need to identify and pursue modifiable lifestyle factors for type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes risk reduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that “simple lifestyle measures may prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Such interventions include:

  • Achieve and maintain healthy body weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugars and saturated fats.
  • Move — do at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. You will likely need more activity for weight control.
  • Avoid tobacco.
Photo by Christina Rumpf on Unsplash

And what about coffee? Back to our recent study. Consuming six cups daily is associated with a one-third (33 percent) reduction in the risk for type 2 diabetes.

There is a seven percent drop in excess risk for type 2 diabetes for every additional cup of coffee consumed daily. On the other hand, decreasing consumption is associated with higher disease risk. Even decaffeinated coffee provides a risk reduction.

Coffee: The catch

Boiled coffee is not as beneficial as filtered coffee. Boiled coffee is made with coarsely ground coffee beans. You may have had Greek or Turkish coffee or espresso-based drinks.

Thank you for joining me today. If you consume coffee, do you have a favorite type?

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Michael Hunter, MD
I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

Michael Hunter, MD

I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

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