Type-2 Diabetes: Prevention and Reduction
Diabetes affects over 29 million Americans, and approximately 86 million have high blood glucose levels (indicator of increased risk for type-2 diabetes) according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Diabetes is a serious health condition that can lead to health complications such as blindness, kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease.
What it is:
Type-2 diabetes was once known as adult onset diabetes. Today it is no longer only affecting adults as we are seeing increased rates of obesity among children. Type-2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which your body does not properly metabolize sugar (glucose). The body will either resist the effect of insulin (hormone responsible for taking sugar into your cells), or will not produce enough insulin to regulate a normal blood glucose level.
What you can do:
Type-2 diabetes comes on slowly, and you can have it for years without seeing any symptoms. Some symptoms include: increased thirst, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing sores, and areas of darkened skin.
If you start to notice these symptoms, or feel you might be at risk see your doctor. They will run a blood test looking at levels of glycated hemoglobin (A1C test).
If you are pre-diabetic, or feel like you may be at increased risk, then preventive measures are available to decrease your risks. Lifestyle choices may be able to delay or prevent a diagnosis. Although there is no cure for type-2 diabetes there are ways to manage it through diet, exercise, keeping a healthy weight, medication, or insulin therapy.
Eating a Mediterranean diet (med diet) has been shown through research to help lower your risk of diabetes, and is better for glucose control if you have diabetes. Move towards the med diet and away from red meat, sugar, processed foods, and fried foods.
Increase your fiber intake. Foods high in fiber improve glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, beta cell function, and carbohydrate metabolism. It is recommended to consume 25 grams a day for women, and 38 grams per day for men.
Check out the links for more on the Mediterranean diet:
Reduce Stress and Kick your Blues:
When stress hormones are released in the body your blood sugar levels are raised. Try to reduce stress in your life.
Depression also has increased levels of stress hormones (cortisol), which can lead to problems with blood sugar metabolism.
Do what works for you: Acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, tai chi, meditation, exercise, and massage are some great ways to reduce stress. If you are depressed see your doctor to rule out any physical causes. You can get a referral to see a psychiatrist, professional counselor, or a clinical psychologist who can help.
A great way to lose fat and gain muscle is a combination of cardio and strength training. Start off gradually and shoot for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise everyday. You don’t have to do all 30 minutes all at once. Break it up throughout the day as you slowly increase your workout times. When you work out your muscles pull glucose from your blood to use as energy. Cardio exercise also increases blood circulation throughout the body. This is especially important for diabetes patients who may have distal extremity issues (esp. feet) due to peripheral vascular disease.
Remember that you can cut your risk for diabetes by 58% by losing just 15 pounds!
It is time to be the writer of your own autobiography. Check your blood sugar levels regularly and write them down. Also write down your daily activity and food intake. The more specific you are the better you can track your results. This can also show places that need improvements and how to adjust your treatment plan.
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This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.
“Mission: control” – LA Times