Though most of us enjoy good health, we should never take it for granted. Always there is the fear of the unknown, something catastrophic that would take our good health away and that is the scariest notion. Like the Zika virus for instance. Or last year’s widespread flu epidemic since the virulent virus did not match the flu serum for the 2014-2015 flu season.
But how about type 2 diabetes? While it is not classified as an infectious or communicable disease, the incidence of adult-onset diabetes is growing at an alarming rate, even showing up in teens and children. It is estimated that more than 29 million Americans have diabetes; unbelievably, about 8 million don’t even know they have the disease.
A diagnosis of diabetes
Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure among adults? It often begins as mild nerve damage, which later morphs into severe nerve damage, paired with the usual diabetes-related circulation problems, finally often leads to the loss of a leg or foot. Circulation maladies are not the only issues either, because diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease.
Seventh leading cause of death in the United States
But diabetes needn’t leave you seriously impaired, nor take your life – that is, if you are willing to take steps to prevent diabetes and start being proactive about your health now. All you need to do is make changes in weight, exercise, and diet because this will prevent pre-diabetes from blossoming into diabetes, and also will return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
Thwart type 2 diabetes
Though some may inherit the genes which may make you predisposed to type 2 diabetes, that is unfortunate, but, by leading a healthier life style, you do not simply give up and accept the fact that this malady is in the cards for you. Why not be proactive and guard against type 2 diabetes instead?
Nip it in the bud by keeping your weight under control, following a regular exercise regimen, eating sensibly and not smoking.
Common health tips
Changing your existing lifestyle, or always maintaining a healthy lifestyle are a surefire way to prevent diabetes. For example, of the 90% of the women who have type 2 diabetes, it can be attributed to five factors:
- Excess weight
- Lack of exercise
- Less-than-healthy diet
- Alcohol use.
By making significant lifestyle changes regarding the list above, you not only can dramatically lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, but lower the chances of developing heart disease and some cancers as well. That’s quite an incentive, isn’t it? Below are some reasons to help you defy that foe… type 2 diabetes.
Control Your Weight
At the top of the list, as a causative factor for type 2 diabetes, is being overweight. It can increase your chances to get type 2 diabetes seven fold. Put another way, being overweight makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight. Just losing 7 to 10 percent of your current weight can cut your chances.
Get out and move
Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes, so work your muscles more and more often thus giving them a better chance to use insulin and absorb glucose, thus putting less stress on your insulin-making cells. You don’t have to sign up for an expensive health club, or a private trainer, just walking at least five miles or more per week will help immensely.
Make your diet healthier
The following four diet suggestions are instrumental in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Think brown, not white by choosing only whole grains and whole grain products over highly processed carbohydrates because they will protect against diabetes. Whole grains keep you healthy because the bran and fiber found in whole grains make it difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose, which in turn leads to lower increases in blood sugar and insulin, and a lower glycemic index. This is why you should avoid “white” food like plain white rice (the good “bran layers” are milled off), potatoes (opt for sweet potatoes, not the Idaho or russet potatoes), white bread/rolls and sugary breakfast cereals that have a high glycemic index and glycemic load. Opt for heart-healthy oatmeal as your daily breakfast, which, unlike those sugary breakfast cereals, do not cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn may lead to increased diabetes risk.
Skip sugary drinks and opt for water, coffee and tea instead. The sugary sweet tea or soda cause a high glycemic load and increased risk for diabetes.
Choose “good fats”, not “bad fats” meaning vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are good fats that are better options than trans fats or bad fats like margarine, fried food in fast food restaurants or packaged baked goods.
Limit red meat and opt for chicken, turkey, pork or fish.
If you smoke, quit… and if you can’t quit, at least cut down because type 2 diabetes is one of the many health problems linked to smoking. If you’re looking for a fact to back that statement up… smokers are 50% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.
Limit alcohol intake because moderate alcohol does reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes or heart disease. For women, one drink a day and men two drinks a day would be considered moderate.
Your important daily health tip is this: the time to be proactive about your health is now – you will reap benefits for the long term.