Diabetes Prevention Methods
Last updated on November 5th, 2016
Diabetes is a challenging problem for public health worldwide. It is a chronic disorder in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin (hormone that helps with absorption of sugar), or because cells do not respond adequately to the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form, is characterized by reduced insulin production and the inability of cells to respond fully to insulin.
As there is currently no cure for diabetes, the condition requires lifelong treatment. The problem with diabetes is that it affects the nerves, feet, eyes, kidneys, and heart. In the United States, more than 20% of diabetics suffer from cardiovascular diseases, 10% are diagnosed with stroke, about 250 in 100,000 diabetics will need hemodialysis for kidney failure compared to 15 in 100,000 of the normal population.
It is important therefore for us to prevent the diabetes where we can. To do that, those having increased risk of developing diabetes should be get some test worked out by a doctor
These are some of the factors increasing the risk of diabetes in an individual:
- Family history of diabetes
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Increasing age
- High blood pressure
- Ethnicity – South Asian, African, African-Caribbean
If any one of the factors mentioned above relate to you, you might want to get yourself checked-out by a doctor to see if you have diabetes or if you have impaired glucose regulation, as many patients only discover they have the disease only after a complication of the disease has set in.
Impaired glucose regulation is a condition between normal glucose regulation and type 2 diabetes, which increase one’;s chance of progression to Type 2 diabetes. The good news however is that impaired glucose tolerance does not guarantee the development of diabetes because it can be reversed with moderate lifestyle changes as is proven in more than 50% of patients.
What can you do to prevent diabetes?
This is easier said then done. Most of us lead face-paced lives, and to include exercise in our already packed schedules may be unrealistic. Therefore, the recommendation is for you to choose a physical activity that you enjoy or one that could be easily incorporated to fit your lifestyle – for example, by walking or cycling instead of using a car for short journeys, and by taking the stairs instead of the lift. It would be helpful it you could set short and long term goals for yourself during this process. Perhaps your aim could be to walk or cycle farther, or increase the number or length of activities undertaken every week. With these goals set in place, you can then challenge yourself to meet or break those limits. In addition, it is advisable to keep a record of your activity – for example, by using a pedometer. For those who have the time and money, hiring a personal trainer is recommended.
The healthy body mass index (BMI) range for the general population is between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2. For people of South Asian or Chinese descent, the range is likely to be between18.5 and 22.9 kg/m2. You can measure your BMI here.
Setting a goal to lose 5% of weight in a year is a realistic initial target, you could start with that. Try recording your weight loss each month as that would help boost your confidence and help keep the momentum. However, if the aim at weight loss has been particularly challenging for you, visit a general practitioner who could refer you to a specialist who can help you lose weight with the aid of medication or perhaps surgery.
The key here is to take food high in fibre (wholegrain bread, cereals, beans, lentils, vegetables, fruit), low in saturated fat (vegetable oils, low-fat spreads) and low in fat (mayonnaise, chips, crisps, pastries, poppadums (papads) and samosas). Whenever possible, grill, poach, steam, bake instead of frying.
If you have been diagnosed to have impaired glucose tolerance, this is your chance to switch to a healthier lifestyle for the better. If unfortunately you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, do not be disheartened because this is not the end of the line. Diabetes and it’s symptoms can be controlled with good lifestyle modification. Even if your blood sugar seems to be controlled with the aid of medication, lifestyle modification can really help keep diabetic complications at bay.