With every meal, you are either fighting disease or feeding it.
Did you know that every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes? Diabetes cases increase each year.
In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 3 adults may be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050. The good news is that Type 2 diabetes is preventable. There are things you can do to lower your risk and beat diabetes before it starts.
There are also several treatment options can help you manage your blood sugar, including lifestyle changes and medication. If diabetes is not well managed, it can cause serious health problems. For more information on diabetes, see Diabetes: An Introduction to the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Before learning how to prevent diabetes, it’s important to understand what causes it. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Contributing factors that cause diabetes are genetics and environmental factors, such as excess weight and inactivity.
Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you’re feeling fine. But diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Controlling your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications. Although some contributing factors such as age or race are out of your control, there are several factors that you can control. These risk factors include:
Lose weight: Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight. Having too much excess weight can keep your body from making and using insulin properly, and can also cause high blood pressure.
Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Dropping just 7% to 10% of your weight can cut your risk of type 2 diabetes in half.
Get active: Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. This puts less stress on your insulin-making cells. Long bouts of hot, sweaty exercise aren’t necessary to reap this benefit.
By committing to just thirty minutes of brisk walking a day, most people can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost a third. Regular physical activity can also help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, and boost your sensitivity to insulin. All of these factors will help lower your risk as well. Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control or prevent diabetes, but the greater benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
Eat right: Positive dietary changes can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes. Be sure to get plenty of fiber to improve your blood sugar control and to promote weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It is important to avoid highly processed carbs, sugary drinks, and bad fats (trans and saturated) as much as possible. Another way to lower your risk of developing diabetes is to limit red and processed meats.
People who regularly eat red meat have roughly a 20 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes than people who rarely or never eat red meat. Additionally, try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and many cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
Quit smoking: According to the American Heart Association about 22% of adults with diabetes smoke, even though U.S. research indicates that the most harmful effect of smoking is linked to a significantly higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Although it may be tough to quit, smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths.
The simple answer is yes. Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthy, becoming more physically active and losing a few extra pounds — and it’s never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road.
These complications can include kidney, nerve, and heart damage. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that moderate diet and exercise of a half hour or more 5+ days a week resulted in a 5% to 7% weight loss and can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes.
MyVita Wellness is passionate about helping you treat diabetes through our customized programs. Schedule a meeting to talk with Dr.Tony and our Wellness team to find out how we can help you achieve optimal health and wellness. The consultation is free of charge. Schedule today to get your questions answered. We’re here to help!