Type 2 diabetes is a serious metabolic condition in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, leading to high blood sugar levels.
Preventing diabetes is important because it can help to reduce the risk of serious complications associated with the disease. It can also help to improve the overall quality of life and can help to reduce healthcare costs for individuals.
What is diabetes type 2, and how can you get it
In type 2 diabetes body cannot properly control the glucose in the blood due to the dysfunction of insulin (insulin resistance), a hormone produced by the pancreas.
It is characterized by high blood sugar levels. The causes of type 2 diabetes are multifactorial. It is typically associated with obesity, an unhealthy diet, and a lack of physical activity. There are other risk factors as well, such as genetic predisposition.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and accounts for around 90-95% of all cases.
What can you do to cut the risk of getting the disease? Unfortunately, some risk factors, such as age, genetic markup and ethnicity, cannot be modified. However, there are several modifiable risk factors, and some are discussed below.
1. Eat a healthy diet to prevent diabetes
Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important ways of preventing diabetes.
A healthy diet is typically high in fibre, non-starchy fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low in saturated and trans fats. It’s also essential to avoid processed and sugary foods.
Some medical professionals may suggest unique diet plans like the Mediterranean or a low-carb diet like the keto diet to prevent diabetes.
2. Get regular physical activity to prevent diabetes
Getting regular physical activity is another crucial way to prevent and manage diabetes.
Regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is essential in preventing diabetes. In addition, exercise helps to reduce belly fat which helps to improve insulin sensitivity. So the body uses insulin more efficiently, lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Health experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise throughout the week.
It is also recommended to do two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities that work for all major muscle groups.
It is important to start gradually and get medical advice, especially if you have any risk factors or existing medical conditions.
3. Maintain a healthy weight to prevent diabetes
Controlling your weight is one of the most important ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Obesity increases your risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes. However, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight promotes the efficient use of insulin, lowering your risk of developing diabetes.
A healthy weight is generally defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI measures body fat based on your weight to your height. You can calculate your BMI using a simple online calculator.
However, it is essential to note that BMI is not always an accurate body fat measurement.
A balanced diet and regular physical activities are essential to maintaining a healthy weight.
4. Avoid sedentary life
You should avoid sitting for long hours. Sitting for a long time can be bad for your health and may increase the risk of diabetes.
However, if you are stuck in a sedentary job, then there are some things that you can do, such as standing up and walking around every hour to keep yourself active. You can even take out some time from work to do some physical activity during lunch or after work so that it does not affect your productivity.
If you have to sit for long hours, then make sure you stretch regularly to maintain blood circulation in all body parts. It will also help prevent diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2).
5. Quit smoking to prevent diabetes
Smoking is a known risk factor for diabetes and many other health conditions. For example, studies have shown that smokers have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-smokers.
Nicotine in cigarettes causes insulin resistance, which makes it harder for the body to control blood sugar levels.
Smoking also damages the blood vessels, increasing the risk of diabetes complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and kidney injury.
Quitting smoking can have immediate and long-term benefits for your health. For example, it can help improve blood sugar control, lower your risk of developing diabetes-related complications, and reduce your risk of developing other health conditions.
There are different ways to quit smoking, Nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, or behavioural therapy. It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider the best options for you.
6. Cut down your alcohol intake to prevent diabetes
Excessive alcohol intake increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, alcohol is high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain, another risk factor for diabetes.
It is stated that moderate drinking levels for a man are no more than two drinks per day, and woman, one drink per day.
Reducing alcohol intake can also improve your overall health and lower the risk of developing diabetes and other health issues such as liver diseases.
7. Monitor your blood sugar levels for early detection of prediabetes
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is essential in preventing diabetes through early detection of prediabetes. In prediabetes, your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. However, if left untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes.
There are several ways to monitor blood sugar levels:
- HbA1c test – a level of 5.7-6.4% is considered prediabetes.
- A fasting blood glucose (FBG) test measures your blood sugar level after an 8-hour fast. An FBG level of 100-125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes.
- An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) can also detect prediabetes. It measures your blood sugar level after a 2-hour fast and then again 2 hours after a sugary drink. A level of 140-199 mg/dL is considered prediabetes.
Your healthcare provider will likely recommend lifestyle changes if you test positive for prediabetes. These include losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and increasing physical activity to prevent progression to full-blown diabetes.
It’s important to remember that prediabetes is a treatable and preventable condition.
The Bottom Line
Although type 2 is caused by multiple factors, your lifestyle is directly related to developing the disease.
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented; you don’t have to get sick to start doing something about it. Small lifestyle changes are key, but they can make a huge difference in the long run. So take some time out of your day to implement these six principles I’ve outlined and witness just what good they can do for your brain—and, ultimately, your body.