The 101 on Diabetes
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a long-term medical condition in which the blood glucose levels of a person remain higher than normal all the time. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when insulin does not work properly. Insulin is a hormone that reduces the blood glucose levels. Chronic diabetes conditions include both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes – Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Persons with type 1 diabetes cannot control their blood sugar properly because their pancreas produces little or no insulin. The body’s own immune system mistakenly destroys he insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The need insulin injections to control their blood sugars. It usually happens to young people, although it can also occur less commonly in older adults.
Type 2 Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes
About 90 percent of all persons with diabetes belong to this group. They can produce insulin, but their body does not use if effectively. This type of diabetes can be controlled by diet, exercise and medicines. If these fail, insulin injections may be needed.
Are you at risk?
Diabetes can affect anyone, but there are certain groups of people who may have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have the following risk factors, you may want to take note and find out how to prevent developing type 2 diabetes:
- Have a parent or sibling with diabetes
- Have a BMI of 23.0 kg/m2
- Lead an inactive (sedentary) lifestyle
- Have high blood pressure
- Have abnormal blood cholesterol or lipid levels
- Have a history of gestational diabetes
- Are 40 years old and above
- Have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose
You can prevent type 2 diabetes. It is important that you make it a priority if you are at higher risk. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road. The key is to stay lean and active.
Get up and Get moving
Exercising helps to lose weight, lower blood sugar and boost your insulin sensitivity, keeping your blood sugar within a normal range. Stay fit by engaging in at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly.
Good vs Bad Fats
The types of fats in your diet can also affect the development of diabetes. Good fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes, while trans fats do the opposite.
Swap Red Meat and Avoid Processed Meat
Go for healthier protein choices like nuts, low fat dairy, poultry, or fish. It lowers the risk of diabetes.
Skip the Sugar
Beverages with added sugar increase the risk of diabetes. For the healthier choices, go for plain water, or coffee and tea without milk and sugar.
Go for Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of diabetes and maintain blood sugar levels.
Smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes and other health issues. Stop if you are smoking and do not start if you are not.