How Important Is Blood Sugar Control?
If you have cervical cancer, intraepithelial neoplasia, or are at high risk for developing any of the above, studies suggest that controlling blood sugar levels may help improve outcomes.
The rates for type 2 diabetes are on the rise. Once considered “late onset” or “adult diabetes” because it historically predominantly affected older populations in the past, this disease is now presenting itself in younger and younger people.
Being overweight and obese, the typical “north American diet” consisting of highly processed, high sugar, and low fruit and vegetable intake, combined with a sedentary lifestyle are major contributing factors to this trend.
Blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes, also called “prediabetes”, are a warning sign that serious changes to diet and lifestyle need to be taken to prevent progression of the disease. It is currently estimated that six million Canadians have prediabetes.
Having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. In fact, according to the Canadian Diabetes Foundation, up to 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of heart attack or stroke. New research suggests that high blood sugar may also be a contributing factor in poor cervical cancer prognosis, and that obesity and abnormal blood glucose could be risk factors in the development of preneoplastic lesions of the cervix.
Research published in the journal Gynecological Oncology reported that high glucose levels were associated with a greater risk for recurrence and mortality in non-diabetic women with locally advanced cervical cancer treated with radiation and/or concurrent chemotherapy.
The good news is that achieving stable blood glucose control is possible, although depending on the severity of your dysglycemia, will involve much dedication to your personal health. Even with the help of medication, the key to glucose control is healthy diet and exercise (which is also key for optimal health).
First and foremost, go visit your doctor to have your blood sugar levels tested. Next, under the supervision of your physician, increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean meat, while cutting out processed refined foods (including white flower, white pasta, white bread, etc.), sugar, and decreasing red meat consumption. Increasing your daily physical activity is critical as well: 20-30 minutes daily of brisk walking is an excellent start, and can have a tremendously positive impact on your health.
Whether you have high blood sugar levels or not, these diet and lifestyle modifications can help improve overall health.
Some interesting journal articles to read: