Prevent Diabetes

Before you can prevent diabetes you have to know what it is. Diabetes is a group of chronic metabolic diseases that cause high blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body because of defects in insulin production or function.

Symptoms happen when a lack of insulin or insulin resistance stops glucose from entering the cells and energizing and fueling the body. Symptoms can include increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue, kidney failure, nerve damage, and blindness.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Pre Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

This is classified as an autoimmune disease. It happens when the body’s misdirected immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only 5-10 percent of all diabetes cases in the US. Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented.

Type 2 Diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes. Type 2 develops with age and is due to insulin resistance in the body. Because of the resistance the body’s fat, liver, and muscle cells are unable to take in and store glucose which is necessary for energy. Glucose stays in the blood which causes hyperglycemia. Most type 2 diabetics are overweight because fat inhibits the body’s ability to use insulin.

Gestational Diabetes

This happens when blood sugar is elevated during pregnancy. Left untreated it can lead to high birth weight and breathing problems for the baby. The problem resolves in the mother when the baby is born.

Pre Diabetes

People with pre diabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be in the range of a typical diabetes diagnosis. This condition also increases your risk for heart disease.

5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes
  • Your Ideal Weight- being overweight is a huge contributing factor to diabetes. While type 1 cannot be prevented, losing those extra pounds will go a long way towards preventing the most common type of diabetes, type 2. More than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Try to get down to your body’s ideal weight.
  • Regular Exercise- not only will exercise help keep your weight down; it also strengthens your immune system. Exercise also releases endorphins in your brain which also makes you feel better. Working out regularly for at least 4 hours a week can lower your risk significantly.
  • Hot Dogs and Cheese- a diet high in saturated fat can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol in your body. This can lead to heart disease and also affect blood sugar levels in your body. Limit the amount of animal products you consume.
  • Regular Overeating- Having a few extra bites is perfectly fine. When you consistently eat more calories each day than you burn, you’re tacking on extra pounds. Watch your calorie intake.
  • More Fiber- eating enough fiber keeps your digestive system happy and has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Fiber helps your body regulate blood sugar levels.

Whole Grains

Although it’s not known why, whole grains can reduce your risk of diabetes and help you maintain proper blood sugar levels. Make half of your grains whole grains. Many foods that come from whole grains are foods like pasta, breads, and many cereals. Just look for the word whole grains on the product packaging.

Fad Diets

If you are, or have ever been overweight, you have probably been tempted by some type of fad diet; don’t indulge. Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet, or other fad diets may help you lose weight in the beginning but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes is unknown, and so are their long term effects. By skipping or limiting a particular food group you may be eliminating essential nutrients. Instead use variety and portion control when it comes to healthy eating.

How Much Does it Help?

If you’re overweight you may be surprised at just how much prevention depends on weight loss. Every pound improves your health. One study shows that you reduce your diabetes risk by 16 percent for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight loss. Add it up and you can see just how significant it is. Just by losing a modest amount of weight, 5-10 percent of initial body weight and exercising regularly you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by nearly 60 percent over 3 years.

Death by Diabetes

Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death based on U.S. death certificates in 2007. There were 71,382 deaths in which diabetes was the underlying cause of death. Diabetes was a contributing cause of an additional 160,022 people, for a total of 231,404 people. Studies have found that only 35 to 40 percent of all deaths by diabetes were actually reported. That means that number of 231,404 is probably closer to half a million dead from diabetes and diabetes complications.

 

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