5 Essential Steps to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes affects over 30 million people every year. Some have type 1, or juvenile diabetes. But many develop type 2 diabetes as adults. The disease itself can cause dizziness and irritability. But it also affects your long-term health. It can lead to blood clots and other circulatory issues.

Some of these are so bad that it may result in limb loss. Type 2 diabetes can leave you blind or damage your kidneys. It might lead to a heart attack or stroke. Ultimately, if left untreated, type 2 diabetes can shorten your life. There are five essential steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes in your own life and in the lives of those you love.

1.     Know your risk

Understanding your risk of type 2 diabetes is an important step toward prevention. This means getting a yearly physical. Our doctors will also discuss any family history of diabetes, since it does tend to run in families.

But just because you don’t have anyone in your family with diabetes, doesn’t mean you are off the hook. Your doctor will test you with a fasting blood sugar. With no food in your system, your doctor will measure the amount of sugar in your blood. He will also check your A1C, an indicator of your blood sugar levels over the past three months.

2.     Maintain a healthy weight

When your body carries more weight, your pancreas has to work harder to maintain a healthy blood sugar. Extra pounds, especially around the stomach, can lead your body to resist the action of insulin. This chemical helps your body convert sugar into storable energy.

When your body resists the insulin, your pancreas has to make more to keep your blood sugar stable. But, like any organ, working it too hard over time will wear the insulin producing cells out, leading to type 2 diabetes.

You don’t have to lose lots of weight to make a difference. Just losing 5-10% of your total body weight can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

3.     Exercise, especially after eating

That old-fashioned idea of taking a walk after dinner may do you far more good than you imagine. Insulin isn’t the only way your body uses sugar. Your body doesn’t have to store sugar if it uses it immediately.

Exercise can help you reach and maintain a healthy blood sugar. It may also help you lose weight. So, it can reduce your risk two ways. The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends that you work toward exercising at least 30 minutes, five days a week.  

4.     Eat a healthy, well balanced diet

Reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes isn’t just about not eating sugar. Instead, it’s all about eating healthy. That means eating fresh fruits and veggies along with lean meats and whole grains. Try limiting processed and fatty foods.

If you are going to have a high sugar treat, eat it with other healthy foods, so that your blood sugar stays more balanced. Make sure that you enjoy those little treats, just not every day.

5.     Limit alcohol

An occasional glass of wine might not add much to your risk. But drinking every day will directly increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Not only can it pack on the pounds, but alcohol converts to sugar in your bloodstream, putting pressure on your pancreas and your insulin-producing cells.

You can’t protect yourself from every health issue. But by taking these steps, you can delay or prevent developing type 2 diabetes. The first step is understanding your risk.

Give Wasatch Peak Family Practice, Oceans Contours LLC a call and set up your physical. There you can talk about healthy ways to reduce your risk and stay healthy.

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