In many cases, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Are you taking the right steps to prevent it?
It’s important to understand the causes of type 2 diabetes and the steps you can take to avoid a diabetes diagnosis. November is American Diabetes Month. Right now is the perfect time to learn the smart decisions you can take to prevent your health.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused when an individual’s body does not respond to insulin properly, which is necessary for blood sugar to be stored appropriately for energy in your fat, liver and muscle cells. The body lacks access to the glucose necessary for this energy, and instead, the sugar remains in the individual’s blood.
Type 2 diabetes can develop over a number of years and is often tied to the individual’s overall health. Individuals who are overweight, obese or inactive are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Genetic factors may make an individual more likely to be diagnosed, as well. You do not have to be overweight to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to a number of serious health issues, including nerve damage (especially within feet), kidney problems, eye disease, strokes and more. It’s critically important that individuals with type 2 diabetes follow the treatment recommendations of their doctors to help avoid such complications.
In 2012, approximately 86 million American adults had prediabetes, putting them at-risk for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
You can reduce your risks by following these preventative steps:
Exercise provides a number of benefits. While it certainly can help you to lose weight, it also helps to lower your blood sugar and keep your blood sugar in a normal range. Exercise is also good for your heart, making sure to lessen the likelihood of other serious illnesses that can complicate patients at-risk for or already diagnosed with diabetes.
There are a variety of exercise regimens that can benefit individuals seeking to prevent diabetes. According to Mayo Clinic, a fitness regimen should include both aerobic exercise and resistance training.
Hate going to the gym? Try picking up activities such as dancing!
Make diet changes.
Reduce your sugar intake, taking care to avoid the excess sugars found in processed goods such as snacks, candy and beverages. Switch from white bread pastas to whole grain options. Avoid drastic diet measures, and instead, work with your doctor or nutritionist to set eating habits that provide well-balanced meals of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and necessary vitamins. Drink more water throughout your day. Water will not only improve your health, but it will also make you feel fuller before meals, leaving you less likely to overindulge.
Monitor your weight.
Talk to the doctor about what a healthy weight for your body would be, and set appropriate and safe goals to achieve any necessary weight loss. The diet changes and exercise recommendations above should support your efforts to ensure your weight does not put you at-risk for diabetes.
Talk to your doctor about getting screened.
Your doctor can help assess your risk for being diagnosed with diabetes. Your doctor may choose to do a very simple test to check your blood glucose levels, which will help indicate if you’re prediabetic or have diabetes and are undiagnosed. The results of these conversations will help determine a plan to lessen the risks of dealing with diabetes and related complications.
Right now, there is no cure for type 2 diabetes. Managed properly, it can be treated with medications. Changes in lifestyle habits, exercise routines and weight management allow many people with type 2 diabetes to stop taking medicine as their bodies’ abilities to regulate blood sugar improves. Despite the ability to stop taking medicine, type 2 diabetes requires lifelong attention and care.
During this American Diabetes Month, you can take steps to improve your health and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. By following steps such as the ones above, you and your family members will reduce your risk for this chronic disease and its serious complications.