Preventing type 2 Diabetes: Healthy Lifestyle Matters

Diabetes is one of the most serious chronic illnesses affecting around 4.2 million people worldwide. It is a clinical syndrome characterized by high blood glucose levels due to absolute or relative deficiency of insulin, this lack of insulin impairs the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat. There are three types of diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying pancreatic cells means not enough insulin to function normally, resulting in high blood glucose levels. While type 2 Diabetes is a condition in which our body produces insulin, but target cells do not respond to insulin and cannot use it properly. At first, the pancreas makes more insulin to overcome this high glucose level but eventually, it can’t keep up, and sugar build up in our body.

Causes and risk factors:

Insulin resistance is the hallmark of pre -diabetes and type 2 diabetes, lets understand what factor causes insulin resistance…

MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES

Understand your risks⬇️

➡️ OVERWEIGHT/OBESITY; Being overweight (BMI of 25-29.9), or affected by obesity (BMI of 30-39.9) or severe obesity (BMI of 40 or greater), greatly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The more excess weight you have, the more resistant your muscle and tissue cells become to your own insulin hormone.

➡️Sedentary Lifestyle
Inactivity and having excess weight go hand-in-hand with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Insulin receptors are more in muscle cells as compared to fat cells, so an individual can decrease insulin resistance by exercising. Being more active also lowers blood sugar levels by helping insulin to be more effective.

➡️Unhealthy Eating Habits
Unhealthy eating has duel effects as it is a major contributor to obesity and also increase the risk of insulin resistance. A diet with too much fat, not enough fibre and too many simple carbohydrates all contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

➡️High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
In addition to causing damage to the cardiovascular system, untreated high blood pressure has been linked to the development of diabetes. High blood pressure and high cholesterol may increase the risk of developing heart diseases, stroke, and other complications of diabetes.

Smoking

There are several other factors which cannot be avoidable but play an important role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

➡️History of Gestational Diabetes
. When pregnant, gestational diabetes generally lasts the duration of pregnancy and approximately 5 to 10 percent of females with gestational diabetes will continue to be affected by diabetes after delivery.

.➡️Family History and Genetics
Type 2 diabetes is also linked with genetics as suggested by #twinstudy. you are two to six times more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you have parent, siblings or child with diabetes.

➡️Increased Age
Age is an important factor for type 2 diabetes. As we age, the risk of type 2 diabetes becomes greater. Even if an elderly person is thin, they still may be predisposed to developing diabetes. The pancreas ages right along with us and doesn’t pump insulin as efficiently as it did when we were younger. As our cells age, they become more resistant to insulin as well.

Healthy habits for managing and reversing Pre -Diabetes;

Prediabetes or borderline diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are raised but not high enough to labelled as diabetes. According to Diabetes.co.uk, around 7 million people in the UK are estimated to have prediabetes and thus have a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Pre -diabetes is now recognized as a reversible condition. By adopting healthy habits like making healthy changes in diet and regular physical activity, people with prediabetes can prevent the development of type 2 Diabetes.

Healthy diet; There is convincing evidence that diet rich in whole grains protect against diabetes as the bran and fibre in whole grain cause a slow rise in blood sugar. Avoid processed meat and red meat as they increases the risk of diabetes. Select polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and try to eliminate trans fats (margarine, fried food).

Check your portions: Practicing portion control can help you lose weight and eat a healthy diet. Eating too much or too little of any of the major food group can be bad for your health. For more information about portion size visit, https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/portion-sizes

Be Active: Being physically active can lower your risk of developing diabetes. 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week physical activity is recommended, as it reduces the risk of getting obese and improves insulin resistance.

Lose weight if you are overweight or obese: Fat accumulation in the liver and pancreas affects how type 2 diabetes develops, and losing this fat can help put your diabetes into remission.

Reduce stress level as stress increases cortisol level which may interfere with glucose metabolism and increases blood glucose level.

Quit smoking: smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes as compared to non -smokers.

take home message

Type 2 diabetes is preventable through lifestyle changes even if you are at high risk, It is very important to find out if you have prediabetes. If you are diagnosed with pre- diabetes,you should discuss a diabetes prevention plan with your doctor. There are alot of evidence -based information available on the following websites; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/food-and-keeping-active/

diabetes.org.uk

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