Diabetes is a serious health condition that affects more than 420 millions of people around the world, according to the World Health Organization. Figures are concerning, considering that the condition is not only treatable but also, in many cases, preventable. If your blood sugar levels are high but you haven’t diabetes yet, your doctor may have told you to do everything in your hand to prevent it.
Please note that the following information does not constitute any form of medical advice and you shouldn’t rely on it for any diagnosis, as it is only meant for general purposes. Only your doctor can safely diagnose any condition you may have and prescribe you a treatment.
What causes diabetes type 2?
Diabetes, as explained by the US National Library of Medicine, occurs when your glucose(blood sugar) levels are too high. In the case of type 2 diabetes, this happens because your system is not producing enough insulin or is unable to use it properly, in the case of those who are resistant to insulin. It’s important to note that type 2 diabetes is a preventable condition.
Many people are at risk of developing this type of diabetes. The groups at risk are very varied. Ultimately, your chances will depend on a combination of these risk factors. There is a certain genetic predisposition, but lifestyle can also be decisive. For example, according to MedlinePlus, you may be at risk if your blood sugar levels are already higher than normal, a condition known as prediabetes. As stated, lifestyle is also very important: overweight and obese people, those who don’t lead an active lifestyle and smokers are all more prone to develop diabetes.
There are also other factors that may be linked to lifestyle, like high triglycerides and low HDL levels, or high blood pressure. Finally, age (for those over 45), family history, ethnic groups, depression and some other factors also play a role.
How to prevent diabetes
The good news is those at risk can do many things to prevent this condition. And because most of the steps are very similar to the general guidelines for healthy living, those who change their lifestyle may see their overall condition improve in more than one way. Per MedlinePlus, some of the steps you can take are:
Quit smoking: Smoking can cause your body to become resistant to insulin. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the risk grows with every cigarette. This resistance can in turn lead to type 2 diabetes. Quitting is among the best things you can do for your overall health.
Eating well: this means reducing the amount of calories you take each day in case your doctor told you you need to lose weight. Generally, though, people should aim for a diet that’s low on sugar and includes different foods from each food group, especially fruits, vegetables and wholegrain, while also limiting the amount of red meat and avoiding processed meats.
Exercising: Physical activity is the main way to lose weight and blood sugar, and they all positively affect your health, reducing your diabetes risk. It’s advised to do physical activity for at least half an hour, 5 days a week, starting slow in case you don’t exercise already.
Losing weight: A healthy diet and active lifestyle will lead to weight loss, which is particularly relevant when trying to avoid diabetes. MedlinePlus indicates that losing between 5 and 10% of your body weight can be effective in preventing this condition. Of course, it’s equally important to stay fit and not gaining back weight.
Finally, some people may have to take medicines if they are at very high risk of developing diabetes, so it’s advised to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.