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Preventing Type 2 Diabetes - Eat Smart and Get MovingIt’s estimated that over 350 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, not including an unknown number who are pre-diabetic or undiagnosed. Out of this staggering amount a majority of patients fall under the category of type 2, a form of diabetes that’s largely preventable and, unlike type 1, often comes about due to unhealthy living, poor eating habits, and older age.

The problem with diabetes, and almost all chronic diseases for that matter, is that some put it on the backburner until it rears its ugly head. It’s not until the day the official diagnosis hits or a life shaking health emergency happens that diabetes grabs our attention.

If you’re diabetic or close to someone is, you already know that reversing the effects of diabetes is… well, anything but easy. For some medication and insulin treatments seem like the only options (and not to say that insulin and meds don’t work – they can and do if administered properly), but there are considerably more choices when it comes to preventative care, be it in the form of exercise, food intake, or making lifestyle changes. Turning type 2 diabetes around is one thing, stopping it before it has the chance to set in is another.

Know the Risk Factors

There are number of risk factors than can increase the odds of diabetes. Some are apparent, such as obesity, high cholesterol, and having a family history of the disease. Others, such as psoriasis, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in veins), and polycystic ovarian syndrome (frequent abnormal menstrual cycles in women) are less known and less common than other warning signs, but can be equally as dangerous. Pre-diabetic patients that exhibit these risk factors should consult with their primary health care provider as soon as possible.

Exercise Exercise Exercise

It may sound like a broken record, but exercise is undeniably crucial when it comes to staying healthy and fighting off type 2 diabetes. All exercise is beneficial and anything is better than nothing, but as a rule of thumb cardio should take emphasis over strength training. Swimming, biking, jogging, and to a lesser extent sports such as tennis and basketball, are all fine choices. Whatever it is make sure that you’re A) doing it on a regular basis and B) sticking with it. Consistency and commitment always beat out the all too common default of choosing to stay stagnant.

Diet and Weight Management

If exercise is one side of the avoiding diabetes forever coin, diet is the obvious other. Depending on your current intake, getting on the right track may take a few small meal adjustments or a complete overhaul of your diet and a reshaping of your beliefs about eating. Consulting with a nutritionist might be a smart investment, but it’s safe to assume that a diet high in fiber (fruits, veggies, just about anything in the produce aisle, etc…) is fair game. Berries, beans, and some occasional fish (tuna and salmon are excellent choices) are also good. It should go without saying, but you’ll obviously need to cut back and maybe all but eliminate sugary drinks and excessive sweets. The key is finding balance and systematically eliminating harmful foods and replacing them with healthy ones. Find a course of action that works for you and stay with it. Even if the weight loss is minimal at first, it’s far better than not having a plan.

Stress

How do you feel today?
How did you feel yesterday?
How about tomorrow?

Stress management regularly fails to receive due attention from health specialists, but it influences mental health, which affects the body, which can lead to the eventual onset of chronic diseases. For pre-diabetics high stress can contribute to high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Getting adequate sleep is also a big part of managing stress.

Putting Prevention Front and Center

Patients with type 2 diabetes not only have to deal with ongoing medical treatments and the increased risks of heart disease and stroke, but also on average have a shorter life span. The associated health risks linked to the disease are numerous and recent studies have shown that the amount of people in the world with diabetes has been increasing for (at minimum) the past three decades. It’s not your doctor’s or your relative’s responsibility to prevent diabetes. Step 1 is to realize that there’s nobody other than yourself who can take control of minimizing the risks. The rest largely hinges on smart dieting, constant exercise, and a never ceasing commitment to winning the fight.



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