How to prevent diabetes?
How to prevent diabetes and can diabetes be prevented? First of all we need to know the fact that diabetes is increasing from years to years and it is even scary when it can be seen in teenagers or young adult. Diabetes will cause damage to the nerves and it is the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness. Besides that, it could cause mild to severe nerve damage that will lead to diabetic foot ulcer. In some serious case, it will lead to amputation. Uncontrolled blood sugar will also increase the risk of heart diseases.
We have heard about the bad news of developing Type II diabetes, so what is the good news? The good news is type 2 diabetes is largely preventable.
How does our body works?
When we eat carbohydrate containing food, it will be converted into glucose and rapidly absorbed into bloodstream. Once our body detected there is any rise in the blood sugar, the body will send a signal to the pancreas. The pancreas will release insulin into the bloodstream. This hormone, insulin will convert glucose into glycogen and stored it in the cells. Therefore, the blood sugar able to return to normal.
Without this insulin, the blood sugar is not able to enter the cell and therefore, this will cause high blood sugar.
Can diabetes be prevented?
Family history may increases the risk of developing diabetes. For example, if both of your parents or one of your parents are diabetic, there is a higher chance that the children have a higher risk. However, behavioural and lifestyle factors play an important role as well. Data developed from Nurses’ Health Study shows that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes in women can be attributed to five factors including excessive weight, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
In this study, 3300 married female nurses developed type 2 diabetes over a 16 years period out of 85000 married female nurses. Women in the low-risk group were 90 percent less likely to developed diabetes than the rest of the nurses, where the women in the low-risk group were practicing a healthy lifestyle (body mass index (BMI) is less than 25 kg/m2, a healthy diet, at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, no smiling and having about three unit of alcoholic drinks per week).
On the other hand, data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, indicated that a “western” diet, with lack of physical activity and excessive weight, dramatically increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in men.
There are several information and data from several clinical trials strongly support that type 2 diabetes is preventable. Diabetes Prevention Program examined that the effect of weight loss and increased exercise on the development of type 2 diabetes among men and women who were having high blood sugar but yet crossed the line to diabetes. In the group assigned to weight loss and exercise, there were 58% fewer cases after three years compared to the group assigned to usual care. Even the program ended, the benefit persisted.
Steps to lower the risk and prevent diabetes
1. Control your weight
Excessive weight is one of the major factor that will cause type 2 diabetes. According to a study, being obese will have 20 to 40 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to someone with healthy weight.
By losing 5-10% of the current body weight, the chances of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced into half.
2. Change screen time to moving time
Sedentary lifestyle or inactivity promotes the development of type 2 diabetes. By working your muscles, it will improve the ability to utilize insulin and absorb glucose into the cells.
Some people might said I cannot exercise or I cannot run. Studies from Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study shows that brisk walking for half an hour every day will reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%.
Watching television appear to be detrimental to the body, as you could use the 2 hours of screen time and make it into something active and fun.
The greatest benefits comes from a fitness program that includes cardiovascular (endurance) exercise and resistant training.
3. Boost your fiber intake
Always go for whole grains and whole grains products over highly processed carbohydrate.
Studies shows that diet that is rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas highly processed carbohydrate will increase the risk of diabetes.
The bran and fiber in whole grain will make the digestive enzyme harder to break down starches into glucose which will lead to slowering and lowering blood sugar level.
4. Choose water, coffee, tea instead of sugary drinks
Sugary beverages including syrup, carbonated drinks, and drinks with added sugar have higher glycemic load which is associated with increased risk of diabetes.
Data obtained from Nurses’ Health Study II showed that women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 83 percent, compared to women who drank less than one sugary drinks per month.
Besides that, women who has a higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages tend to gain more weight compared to women who do not drink. There are mounting evidences also shows that sugary drinks will attribute to chronic inflammation, increase triglycerides, decreasing high density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol), increased insulin resistance, which will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Always go for herbal tea, coffee or tea as long as you do not top up with sugar and cream.
5. If you smoke, why not consider quitting it?
Smoker have a 50% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-smoker.
6. Alcohol intake
If you are a drinker, always limit to 2 unit of alcoholic drink for men and 1 unit for women per day.
The most effective way to prevent diabetes is to lose weight in order to ensure that you are in healthy weight range and be physically active together with a healthy, balanced diet.
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