You hear a lot about Diabetes because so many Americans suffer from it, 29.1 million to be exact. That’s a huge amount of Diabetes patients to treat!
Here’s an explanation on what Diabetes is, how it affects your body and what you can do to reduce your chances of joining the 29.1 million.
We avoid the issue of Diabetes in two ways. Firstly we avoid educating ourselves on prevention and secondly we avoid talking about the cost of treating Diabetes. Just knowing how much Diabetes meds cost you might deter you from eating all those sugary and fatty snacks!
Diabetes is when you have high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Its full name is Diabetes Mellitus. Blood sugar (glucose) levels in the blood and cells are controlled by a hormone called insulin. The development of Diabetes depends on how Insulin works around the body. If it doesn’t work properly then blood sugar (glucose) levels rise high and become dangerous.
There are 2 reasons why Diabetes develops:
- The body has insufficient insulin production. This is known as Type I Diabetes.
- The body does not respond properly to insulin or there is not enough insulin production. This is known as Type II Diabetes.
The majority of Diabetes cases are considered Type II Diabetes – 90% of them to be exact! This is the type of Diabetes that prevention methods can help and this is why it’s so important to raise awareness of Diabetes prevention and Diabetes symptoms. Knowing what symptoms to look out for can help you catch this progressive disease early. A change in diet and lifestyle together with medication can greatly reduce your chances of Diabetes escalating to dangerous levels.
Below are Saul’s top tips for getting healthy and reducing your risk of Type II Diabetes.
- Take a Diabetes risk assessment test- like this one from org. It will help you understand where you currently stand within general risk boundaries.
- Get lots of exercise and lose weight – doing half an hour of moderate exercise a day can help lower blood glucose levels by boosting your sensitivity to insulin. Exercise also helps control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, all factors to consider when trying to prevent the onset of type II Diabetes. Ideally your exercise program should combine cardiovascular and weight/resistance training. Walking is a great form of exercise. Doing half an hour of exercise a day doesn’t’ mean having to pay for a gym membership or organized classes. Going for half hour brisk walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator etc count as moderate exercise and are all ways you can fit exercise into your existing routine. If you are overweight then this can reduce your risk by up to 60%!
- Diet is key! – Reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in your diet. Focus specifically on reducing saturated and trans fats. I suggest keeping away from ready meals and processed foods, these tend to have more sugar and fat than when you cook from fresh. Try to eat a balanced healthy diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and fiber – introduce lots of whole-grains too as these are known to help reduce Diabetes risk ad help blood sugar levels. Forget about crash dieting, it doesn’t work and is not good for your body’s stability. It’s far better to eat healthy things in measured out portions. If you need to see a dietician to help you figure out your new diet then do so. It’s well worth the money when you consider the long term consequences.
- Ditch alcohol and cigarettes – Alcohol is fattening! Men should limit themselves to 2 units a day and women to 1 unit a day. This will help you control your weight as well as controlling your blood pressure and triglycerides.
- Keep track of your blood pressure – High blood pressure is not good for Diabetes control. Following tips 1-4 can help you control your blood pressure although it’s also best to try and limit the stress in your life where possible. In some high risk type II cases with high blood pressure daily medication may be needed to lower the blood pressure. Talk to your doctor at your next checkup.
Diabetes is a progressive disease. The symptoms and side effects get worse as the disease progresses. Prevention is the best way to reduce your chances of getting type II Diabetes. However, even if you are diagnosed, the above advice can stop the disease from progressing.