Diabetes Mellitus (commonly known by most people as just “Diabetes” or high blood sugar) is an unfortunately common chronic disease throughout the entire world. Diabetes results in elevated blood glucose (sugar) which can, after an extended period of time, be quite damaging to many important organs - especially the brain, heart, peripheral nerves, eyes and kidneys. Diabetes results in the deaths of 3.4 million people per year and causes extreme physical disability, including blindness, in those who don’t seek proper treatment. The good news is that with medical and behavioral control of Diabetes, persons with the disease can live as long and as normal as any healthy person.
There are 2 main types of diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin (the hormone that allows the body to use glucose), whereas with type 2 diabetes, the body does not react well to insulin. Type 2 is the more common form of diabetes around the world, accounting for 90-95% of all cases. According to the World Health Organization, over 422 million people are currently living with a form of the disease.
So, let us share with you 5 ways to help prevent diabetes.
Getting regular physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent or control type 2 diabetes. In fact, lack of exercise and prolonged inactivity promotes the disease. A regular exercise routine improves the muscles’ ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. It also relieves some stress from your insulin making cells. Another benefit of exercise is that it helps you to lose weight. If you can manage just 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, this can help improve blood pressure and cholesterol as well. This is the first and best defense against developing diabetes.
A healthy diet is important in preventing or controlling diabetes. Stay clear of sugary drinks and instead choose water or unsweetened tea and coffee. Adults and children who consume sugary beverages are more likely to be overweight. Furthermore, sugary drinks may lead to increased insulin resistance.
Avoid “bad fats” and opt for the “good fats”. Eating good fats such as the ones found in vegetable oil and nuts can aid in preventing type 2 diabetes by promoting the acceptance of glucose by the insulin receptors in the muscles.
Limit your intake of highly processed carbohydrates like white bread and white rice as they may create spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Finally, limit your red meat consumption and strive to eat more healthy sources of protein such as poultry or fish.
Healthy body weight
Obesity is the single greatest cause of type 2 diabetes. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop the condition than someone of a normal weight. It’s almost entirely possible to control or even prevent diabetes through eating a balanced, healthy diet and exercising regularly. In one study conducted by the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a 58% reduction in diabetes over the course of three years was achieved through intensive lifestyle intervention (ILS) compared with participants treated with a placebo. Of special note, they discovered that, on average, there was a 16% reduction in diabetes risk per kilogram of weight loss, which should be plenty of motivation to maintain a healthy weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes by 30-40%. For those who already have diabetes, your risk for major complications rises if you are a smoker. Heart and kidney disease, poor circulation in the legs and feet, diabetic retinopathy (diabetic eye disease), and peripheral neuropathy (nerve disease) are all possible results from smoking as a diabetic. For those who do not smoke, please do not start as there is a direct causal relationship between smoking and diabetes, as well as many other negative effects on your health.
Regular health check-ups
A regular health and/or diabetes screening can provide important comprehensive information related to your current and future health, and whether or not you have or are at risk for diabetes. A diabetes screening checks hemoglobin A1c levels in blood and albumin levels in urine. If the levels are above normal, then the chance of you developing or even having diabetes is possible. The Diabetes Program at Bumrungrad International Hospital aims to assist in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. From identifying pre-diabetes and the treatment of diabetic eye disease to treatment protocols designed for women with gestational diabetes, Bumrungrad International Hospital can provide the treatment and education necessary for someone with diabetes to live as near a normal life as possible.
Preventing diabetes is possible, which is why it’s so important to know your risk of living with the disease.
To learn more about diabetes and prevention, make an appointment at Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Diabetes Center today. The Diabetes Center is located on the 19th floor of the Bumrungrad International Clinic Building and can be reached by dialing +66 2011 2222.