FIVE (5) RESEACRH PROVEN WAYS TO PREVENT DIABETES
‘Diabetes is an old man’s disease’, is a popular saying but such is not the case in recent times as diabetes has been found to be present in persons of young ages. It is therefore important to understand how to prevent diabetes because anyone can be at risk. Diabetes opens the door of the immune system for several infections to get into the body.
What is diabetes? Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is a collection of diseases in the body that affects how the body metabolizes blood sugar, that is, glucose. Diabetes is a chronic non-communicable disease found all over the world. It is usually associated with hyperglycemia; high blood sugar level. It presents in different types which are: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Although, the exact cause of diabetes has not been found, research has shown that in all cases of diabetes there is hyperglycemia. However, some predisposing factors (risk factors) of diabetes include; family history, being hypertensive, being obese, having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), inactive lifestyle and smoking. Unlike some other chronic diseases, diabetes presents symptoms. These include; urinating often, increased hunger and thirst, unexplained weight loss, slow-healing injuries amidst others. Over a period of time, diabetes may result in several complications, such as; neuropathy-nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, nephropathy-kidney damage, retinopathy-damage to the eyes and chronic depression.
However, it is good to know that diabetes can be prevented to a maximum level.
Here are five research proven ways to prevent the development of diabetes:
- Engaging in physical activities:
One of the easiest ways to prevent the accumulation of sugar in the blood is to be physically active. Engaging in aerobic activities and exercises for at least 30 minutes a day or at least 2 hours in a week is advisable. For example, you can talk a walk, do some jogging and running or have a workout routine. Exercise makes the muscles work harder and increases insulin use and absorption. In fact, just taking a work for more than 5 hours a week has been reported to drastically prevent diabetes. (The Black Women’s Health Study)
- Maintaining a healthy weight:
Another way to prevent diabetes is by maintaining a healthy weight simply because being obese puts you at a high risk of developing diabetes. Try to lose weight if you are overweight and also maintain a healthy weight by working on your eating habits and exercise habits. Losing weight also gives a healthier heart and more energy. You can also talk to your medical provider and find out what range of weight is healthy for you by referring to your body mass index.
- Avoid smoking:
Diabetes is one of the diseases associated with smoking. Smoking, especially tobacco increases the risk of developing diabetes. Research has in fact shown that smokers are about 50% more liable to develop diabetes than non-smokers and heavy smokers are at a higher risk. Do not smoke and if you already do, try to quit.
- Maintain a suitable and balanced diet:
Along with engaging in moderate exercises comes maintaining adequate nutrition. In choosing foods, select foods that are highly nutritional and high in fiber. Avoid foods high in fats, calories and sugar. Fruit, vegetables and whole grains are very much advisable. If you are having a sweet tooth, opt for natural sugar. Also, select foods that are suitable for your body type.
- Consuming little to no alcohol:
It is advised to consume moderate to no amounts of alcohol. As much as it puts you at a lower risk of developing heart and liver diseases, it also reduces your risk of developing diabetes. Research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption for both men and women reduces the risk of diabetes as it increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside the cells. Excess alcohol shoots up the risk of developing diabetes and alcohol can be very addictive so if you don’t take alcohol, no need to start!
In conclusion, being predisposed to diabetes does not put you at the edge as these lifestyle changes go a long way in reducing your risk for diabetes. Always ensure to see your medical provider if you feel something is off. Making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating right and exercising right is very important. Getting your blood sugar level tested once in a while even keeps you safer as prediabetes can be detected. Prevention remains better than cure.
- Medline Plus (October 25th, 2017) – How to Prevent Diabetes. Available at medlineplus.com
- The Nutrition Source, A Study published by Harvard T.H. Chan, Harvard School of Public Health
- Mayo Clinic (October 25th, 2022) –Diabetes. Available at mayoclinic.org.