Knowing how to prevent Type 2 diabetes and following the steps could spell the difference between a lifetime of daily insulin shots and freedom from it. There are several risk factors for diabetes that cannot be controlled, such as family medical history and age. However, the other risk factors, such as diet, weight and exercise, are very much within your control and can greatly help in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that obesity is the single biggest risk factor in type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, weight control is not an insurmountable problem. Unless there’s a hormonal or physiological cause for the inability to lose weight, the biggest hurdle to address a weight problem is probably the mental attitude of the overweight person. Nevertheless, avoiding type 2 diabetes could have a life-and-death implication and should be a compelling reason for anyone to shape up.
Assess your risk. You should get regular screenings if any or a combination of these are true about you: you have an immediate family member who is diabetic; are 45 years or older; are overweight; have high-blood sugar level; have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy); have polycystic ovary syndrome; have blood pressure of 140/90 or higher; have low HDL and high triglyceride levels; do little or no exercise.
Keep to a healthy diet. Prepare a diet plan with a dietician to know your body’s specific limits and needs, and then follow it. Use the resources of the Internet to find meals and menus suited to your situation so you don’t get bored with flavorless food; be creative and open up your mind to the vast riches of nature’s bounty to please your palate. Go for vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber, and let go of foods that are high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Avoid processed foods as much as possible, especially processed meats.
Engage in regular exercise involving intense physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Such an exercise regimen elevates your heartbeat, boosts immunity, and improves overall muscle tone, making you more fit to counter diseases in general. More specifically, it improves your cardiovascular health, helps your body to use insulin more effectively, and also helps lower your blood sugar level.
Lose weight, or keep weight at a healthy level. The primary benefit of exercise is to help you lose or keep weight at a level that is appropriate for your age, gender and height. Since being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes, losing weight reduces that risk substantially. Do not go on crash diets, and do not be discouraged if you show little progress. Losing even 5 to 7 percent of your total body weight over a long-term period significantly helps with the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
The good thing about diabetes prevention is that it is very doable. You don’t have to resign yourself to living with diabetes the rest of your life. If you are careful about your diet, exercise, regular blood-sugar tests and check-ups, controlling your weight, and keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels down, you have the highest chance of preventing diabetes. Even if you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes – having an above-average blood sugar level but not within the diabetes range – you can modify your lifestyle, return your blood sugar levels to normal, and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. How to prevent Type 2 diabetes is a question that’s not hard to answer; the important thing is applying the answers to your life in order to prevent the condition.