12 easy tips to prevent diabetes

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To understand how one can prevent this health condition, you need to learn more about diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes, is a metabolic health condition that causes high blood sugar.

The hormone insulin is responsible for transporting sugar from the bloodstream into the cells to be stored and used for energy. With diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot effectively manage the insulin it produces.

Unattended high blood glucose level leads to diabetes, which can damage the nerves, eyes, kidneys and other organs. But educating oneself about diabetes and taking preventive measures to stop or manage diabetes can help protect our overall health.

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases affecting how the body utilises blood sugar or glucose. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the cells that form the muscles and tissues. It also serves as the brain’s primary source of fuel.

Chronic diabetes conditions are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions are prediabetes and gestational diabetes.

Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than usual. But blood glucose levels aren’t high enough to classify an individual as diabetic. Prediabetes can cause diabetes unless certain steps are taken to prevent it from progressing.

Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. This condition can go away after the baby is born.

Types of Diabetes

There are different types of Diabetes:

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is grouped as an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system of our body to destroy the cells in the pancreas. The pancreas is where insulin is produced.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is a health condition that is developed when the body becomes resistant to insulin and sugar level builds up in your blood.

Gestational

Gestational diabetes occurs when there is a high spike in blood glucose or blood sugar level during pregnancy.  The symptoms are common but can slightly vary depending on the type of diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes

Diabetes symptoms largely depend upon how high the blood sugar is in the body. Some people might not display symptoms, especially if they have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can return and is prone to be more harmful.

The symptoms of diabetes are as follows.

  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Oral infections, like gum and skin infections
  • Vaginal infections

Type 1 diabetes can begin at any age. But it often occurs during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, occurs at any age. Type 2 diabetes is common in people older than 40.

Symptoms in men

Complementing the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may have the following health issues:

Symptoms exhibited by women

Women with Diabetes can have symptoms like:

Type 1 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include:

Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 2 Diabetes are as follows:

  • Excess hunger/thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Exhaustion
  • Slow-healing sores

It may also cause recurring infections. This is often because high blood glucose levels in the body can make it tasking for the body to heal from infections.

Gestational Diabetes

Most people who have gestational diabetes don’t exhibit symptoms. Healthcare professionals or doctors often diagnose the condition during a routine blood glucose test or oral glucose tolerance test. These tests are typically performed during the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

In some cases, an individual with gestational Diabetes will also experience increased thirst and urination.

Causes of Diabetes

Different causes are related to each type of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Doctors are puzzled to know exactly what causes type 1 Diabetes. For a few reasons, the system in our body mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Genes may play a significant role in some people.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes roots from a mixture of various factors, including genetics and lifestyle factors. Holding too much weight increases the risk, too. Carrying extra kilos, especially around the belly, makes the cells more immune to the effects of insulin in the body.

This condition runs in families. Blood relations share genes that make a person more prone to get type 2 Diabetes and being overweight.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes occurs as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cells minimally sensitive to the consequences of insulin. This can cause high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

People who are overweight or who gain more weight during pregnancy are more likely to develop gestational Diabetes.

Diabetes risk factors

Certain factors increase the risk of Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

A person is more likely to develop type 1 Diabetes if they are a child or teenager and have a parent or sibling with the same health condition. Otherwise, they can carry specific genes that are linked to the disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

The risk for type 2 Diabetes increases if a person

  • Is overweight
  • Is age 45 or older
  • Has a parent or sibling with the condition
  • Is not physically active
  • Has had gestational Diabetes
  • Has prediabetes
  • Has high vital signs, high cholesterol or high triglycerides.

Gestational Diabetes

The risk for gestational Diabetes increases if a person:

  • Is overweight
  • Is over 25 years old
  • Has gestational Diabetes during a past pregnancy
  • Has a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Has a history of type 2 Diabetes
  • Has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

The medical case history, environmental factors, and any preexisting medical conditions can all affect the odds of developing Diabetes.

What are the complications associated with Diabetes? 

The high blood sugar level in the body damages organs and tissues. The higher your blood sugar is, the longer you live with it and the greater the risk for complications.

Complications related to diabetes include

Uncontrolled gestational Diabetes can cause problems that affect both the mother and baby. Complications involving the baby can include

  • Premature birth
  • More weight at birth
  • Increased risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Low blood glucose
  • Jaundice and
  • Stillbirth

Pregnant women with gestational diabetes can develop complications like high blood pressure, preeclampsia or type 2 diabetes. The patient may also require cesarean delivery, commonly said as a C-section.

The risk of developing gestational diabetes in future pregnancies also increases.

Lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Prevention is essential if someone is at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes because of excess weight or obesity, high cholesterol or a history of diabetes.

If they have been diagnosed with prediabetes, where high blood sugar level doesn’t reach the threshold of a Diabetes diagnosis, lifestyle changes can reduce or delay the onset of the disease.

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that negatively affects people worldwide. Unmanaged diabetes may cause blindness, renal failure, heart condition and other conditions that are irreversible.

Progressing from prediabetes to diabetes isn’t unavoidable. Although a person can’t change certain factors like their genes or age, there are several lifestyle and dietary modifications that may reduce your risk. 

Making some changes in our lifestyle now may help us avoid the drastic health complications of diabetes in the future, like nerve, kidney and heart damage. It’s never too late to start.

Simple steps to lowering the risk of diabetics

What are the measures to prevent diabetes?

Effective weight management

Being obese is the most important contributor to developing type 2 Diabetes. Being overweight increases the probability of developing type 2 Diabetes sevenfold. Being obese makes a person 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.

Losing weight can help if the weight is above the optimal weight range. Losing 7-10% of the current weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes largely.

 Losing weight can reduce the danger of developing diabetes. People in a study reduced their risk of developing diabetes by up to 60% after losing approximately 7% of their weight with exercise, diet and lifestyle.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with prediabetes to lose at least 7% to 10% of their body weight to prevent the progression of the disease. More weight loss will crack significant benefits.

Set a weight-loss goal supported by the current body weight. Ask a doctor about reasonable short-term goals and expectations, like losing 1 to 1.5 kilos a month.

Reduce the total carb intake

The quantity and quality of the carb intake stand as essential factors to consider when making dietary changes to help a person prevent Diabetes.

Our body breaks down carbs into small sugar molecules, which are absorbed into your bloodstream. The consequential rise in blood glucose facilitates the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that helps sugar move from your bloodstream into the cells.

In people with prediabetes, the cells in the body are immune to insulin, so blood glucose remains high. To compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin to bring blood glucose to a lesser level.

Over time, this condition can lead to progressively higher blood glucose and insulin level in the body until the condition progresses into type 2 Diabetes.

 Studies around the world, link added sugar or refined carb intake with increased Diabetes risk. Moreover, replacing these things with foods that have less effect on blood sugar may reduce your risk.

However, all carb sources, including sugar and refined carbs, stimulate insulin discharge in the body. Although refined carbs are digested faster than complex carbs, there’s minimal evidence to claim that a food’s blood glucose increase is correlated with Diabetes risk.

Therefore, managing overall carb intake and choosing high-fibre carbs are likely better solutions for preventing Diabetes.

Examples of foods and drinks high in artificial sugars or refined carbs include soda, sweets, candy, dessert, light bread, pasta and artificially sweetened breakfast cereals.

Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and mushrooms, whole fruits, oatmeal, whole grain bread and pasta are more nutritious. These options are high in fibre, which helps mitigate spikes in blood glucose.

Lean proteins like eggs, fish and healthy fats from vegetable oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds have less effect on blood sugar. They’re great additions to your diet to assist prevent type 2 Diabetes.

Don’t smoke

Smoking can be the worst habit anyone can have. Type 2 Diabetes is caused by smoking-related health problems. Smokers are 50% more likely to develop Diabetes than nonsmokers or passive smokers. Heavy smokers have a higher risk. 

Light or moderate alcohol consumption

Evidence of various studies have consistently linked moderate alcohol consumption with a reduced risk of a heart condition. The equivalent may be true for type 2 Diabetes. 

Moderate amounts of alcohol, up to a drink each day for women and up to 2 drinks daily for men, increase insulin’s efficiency at getting glucose inside cells. A few studies indicate that moderate alcohol intake diminishes the risk of type 2 Diabetes. 

Excess alcohol intake increases the danger. If anyone already consumes alcohol, the key is to keep their consumption limited, as higher amounts of alcohol could trigger Diabetes risk. If a person doesn’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start. They can get the same bodily benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing their eating patterns.

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity helps prevent Diabetes.

People with prediabetes have reduced insulin sensitivity. This insulin sensitivity is also called insulin resistance. During this state, the pancreas has to produce more insulin to push glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.

Exercise increases the insulin sensitivity of the cells in the body, meaning that a person needs less insulin to manage their blood sugar levels.

Many types of physical activity have shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar in the body for adults with prediabetes or type 2 Diabetes. 

Such activities include aerobics, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training.

However, a person doesn’t have to do HIIT for benefits. Short exercise spells that last as little as 10 minutes, like brisk walking, are great options. If anyone begins an exercise routine, it is better to start with short workouts and work out to 150 minutes per week.

There are many benefits reaped by regular physical activity. Exercise can help

  • To lose weight
  • To lower your blood glucose
  • To boost our insulin sensitivity — which helps keep the blood glucose within a normal range.

Goals for many grown-ups to assist weight loss and maintain a healthy weight include.

Aerobic exercises.

Scheduling half an hour or more for moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise like walking, swimming, biking or jogging on most days for at least 120 minutes per week can improve overall health.

Resistance exercise. 

Resistance exercise 2 to 3 times a week can increase the strength for an active life. Resistance training includes weightlifting, yoga and callisthenics that provide unique benefits.

Limited inactivity

Ending prolonged inactivity, like being seated in front of a computer for a longer time, can help control blood glucose levels. Take some minutes to stand, walk around, or do a light activity every half-hour.

Quit smoking

Smoking has been shown to cause several severe health conditions, including heart conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung and intestinal cancers.

Research also links smoking can cause type 2 Diabetes. Even though the mechanisms aren’t fully understood, it is thought that smoking can increase insulin resistance and inhibit insulin secretion.

Plus, frequent smoking is linked to a increased risk of Diabetes than smoking fewer cigarettes. Various studies suggest that quitting smoking may reduce Diabetes risk.

Reduce portion sizes

Eating portion sizes fitting a person’s needs can also help prevent Diabetes.

Eating excessive food at one time has been shown to increase blood glucose and insulin levels in people at risk of Diabetes.

Conversely, consuming smaller portions can cause reduced calorie intake and subsequent weight loss, which can, in turn, lower the risk of Diabetes.

While few studies on the consequences of portion management in people with prediabetes, research on those with type 2 Diabetes offers some valuable insight.

A study in overweight or obese adults, including some with type 2 Diabetes, found that a plan with portion-managed meal replacements or appropriate portions of other healthy foods resulted in weight loss and noticeable reductions in body fat.

To manage our portion sizes, have half plate of half non-starchy vegetables, 1 / 4 lean protein, and 1 / 4 complex carbohydrates like fruits and whole grains. If we find ourselves at a restaurant that serves plus portions, choose an appetizer for your main course or a half portion.

Plus, rather than devouring snacks out of the bag, transfer the required amount into a separate dish.

Optimize vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is essential for blood sugar management.

Indeed, studies link vitamin D deficiency with insulin resistance and Diabetes. Still, other studies show that vitamin D supplements can improve various aspects of blood glucose management in people with prediabetes.

However, the available research is mixed on whether vitamin D or other supplements can help the body prevent the progression from prediabetes to type 2 Diabetes.

Still, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels is vital for overall health, especially if anyone is deficient. Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and cod liver oil. Additionally, sun exposure can increase vitamin D levels.

For some people, supplementing their bodies with vitamin D every day is necessary to achieve and maintain optimal levels. Speak with a doctor to know your vitamin D levels to be checked before starting a supplement.

Drink coffee or tea

Although it’s best to rely on water as our primary beverage, research suggests that including coffee or tea in the diet may help us in avoiding high blood sugar.

Various studies on people revealed that daily coffee intake could reduce type 2 Diabetes risk by little more than 50%, with the best effect typically seen in people with the highest consumption.

Another study linked that daily tea intake can lower the risk of type 2 Diabetes.

Coffee and tea have antioxidants referred to as polyphenols that fight against free radicle cell damage and may also help protect against Diabetes.

It’s best to consume these beverages plain or with a minimal of milk. Added sugars and syrups increase blood glucose levels and detract the body from their protective effects.

Prevention tips for parents

Type 2 Diabetes in kids is increasing at a rapid rate. If a child is in danger of Diabetes, enforcing a number of tips from the list above can be valuable.

Yet, some of the above tips, like drinking coffee and quitting smoking, don’t apply to young children.

Some ideas for managing Diabetes that is more specific to kids.

Get more involved together 

Encourage playing outside, park trips, dog walking or games between siblings. As a parent, anyone can facilitate family walks or hikes so that everyone stays active and the child doesn’t feel singled out.

Offer healthy snacks

Provide snacks high in fibre and low in added sugars or refined carbs. Swap ultra-processed options like chips or candy with fresh fruit spread, veggies with dip, smoothies, yoghurt parfaits or whole wheat pita pizzas.

Boundary screen time

Set a limit for the child’s daily screen time, including sitting in front of the computer or TV. Encouraging other activities like playing outside or doing art and craft can assist the overall growth of a child. Eat meals as a family rather than in front of the TV.

To sum up

When it involves preventing Diabetes, there are many steps we can take.

Instead of viewing prediabetes as a stepping stone to diabetes, it will be helpful to see it as a motivating factor for making changes that can help reduce your risk.

Consume healthy foods and having other healthy lifestyle behaviours that promote optimal blood sugar or insulin levels in the body will give us the best chance of reducing the risk of diabetes.

FAQs

How to stop diabetes before it starts?

Diabetes can be prevented by
 
1. Weight management
2. Increasing physical activity
3. Consuming healthy food
4. Quit smoking and
5. Reduce alcohol consumption

What are the ten signs of diabetes?

1. Feeling thirstier.
2. Urinating frequently.
3. Losing weight.
4. Presence of ketones in the urine.
5. Feeling weak.
6. Feeling irritable and having other mood changes.
7. Having blurry vision.
8. Having slow-healing sores.
9. Getting a lot of infections in the gum, skin and vagina.

What causes diabetes?

An elevated level of blood sugar in the body for a long time causes Diabetes. However, the exact cause of most types of Diabetes remains a mystery.

What are the treatments for diabetes?

1. Healthy eatingl Regular exercise
2. Optimal weight management
3. Diabetes medication or insulin therapy
4. Blood sugar monitoring


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