Friday, October 21, 2011

Diabetes Support Group and Turkey Vultures (Missed Them Again)

Yesterday, I woke up to a foggy morning and rushed out to wash the Jeep. It was too dirty to take to town, but it's such a tiny little car so it was a fast and easy job. Then I took off to town to attend the Diabetes Support Group meeting. When I came home, my husband asked if I had seen the hundreds of turkey vultures on the hillside by the road. No, I had not. Darned, I am so in love with these birds, but I didn't notice them at all. He said there were about 200 of them. The sky was black as they flew over our house and settled on the hill behind us. I imagine they decided to spend the night in the canyon before moving on to points south.

At the meeting, the subject was: Food, Fat, and Feeling Full.  Eve, the diabetes nurse educator who runs the group, does it on a volunteer basis, and she is wonderful. Love her and I have also made some, if not friends, but good acquaintances there. And you always learn something.

In this meeting I learned how genetics and hormones influence the way we eat:
  • Obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in youth since 1980.
  • Your mother's genes determines whether you will have a weight problem or not. This was news to me.
  • Appetite is the desire to eat. Hunger is needing to eat.
Eve's handout listed many other things; these were interesting:
  • Leptin is a hormone that is released by fat cells. It modulates food intake and energy expenditure. It also regulates bone mass. And - it makes us feel full.
  • Ghrelin is a hormone in the stomach that makes us feel hungry. It also increases digestive system movement, lowers blood pressure, and lower insulin secretion. Ghrelin is stimulated by the sight and smell of food and goes to the brain to give the hunger message.
  • Researchers are looking for ghrelin blockers and leptin sensitizers.
  • There are also hormones in the small intestine that make us feel full and tell the brain to put calories in storage. 
  • Fewer dopamine receptors in the brain can lead to carbohydrate addiction because the brain isn't getting the message that the body is satisfied. Exercise will help with this problem. 
We talked about a lot of other food related issues, but I found  genes and hormones the most interesting and new to me. A very good meeting, as always.

I will end by saying that the obesity problem in children and young adults scares me. Type 2 diabetes has increased in tandem with the increase in obesity in young people. Diabetes is a horrible disease and the earlier you get it, the worse your prospects for a healthy, happy, and long life will be. 

Finally, while my husband wondered in awe how hundreds of turkey vultures can fly and soar together without colliding, I wondered what they eat as they migrate. 


  1. Very interesting post. I also have type 2 diabetes, probably caused by my weight.

  2. Very interesting facts, thank you. I never blamed my mother for my life long battle with weight, but gee whiz. Thanks for reminding people of this diabetes issue that could change a persons life forever. I had no idea there was a support group for this one.

  3. My mom has never been overweight and she's only 5'2". I really need to lose about 15 pounds right now. Working on it! You look great, btw, Inger. :)

  4. Interesting facts Inger. Don't you love the whole genes thing......suppose one can't escape that connection but we sure can lesser it's effects by living healthier lives.
    It's the same here in Canada about the obesity rate of youth and the rise of diabetes in that group.
    Good post!

  5. Like Nancy, I can't blame my Mom's genes - she was a pretty little thing.

  6. Thanks for your comments. Both my parents were thin as were most Swedes back in the day. By now the obesity epidemic has hit over there as well, perhaps not as bad as here, but still. And of course while genes and hormones may help explain some of this, we still are what we eat and how much we walk and exercise.

  7. the TVs eat whatever they find. They can detect the odor ( CO2 and methane) from carcuses and will alter their course to encounter it.

    Flight of flocks have puzzled researchers forever. They are having a hard time figuring our what keeps everyone apart. Witness the mass flocks of shorebirds where as many as 10000+ might be in a small flock ball turning and landing as one unit.

  8. Thank you Upupaepop, I always hope you will read my post and answer and explain nature's mysteries to me. I have learned so much from you and appreciate it very much.

  9. I love turkey vultures, too..and appreciate their cleaning efforts.

    Very interesting info on genetic health links!

  10. I enjoyed the post and photos.

    Keep excercising and eat healthy!

  11. Sounds like a great informative meeting... Glad you were able to attend... I'll bet that was an exciting site... glad your husband could enjoy it, sorry you missed it!


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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