How to prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2

Type 1 diabetes 

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Eat well and Exercise

You may be able to prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if you have several of the risk factors and even if you’ve been told you have pre-diabetes, you can take action and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Don’t delay: if you’ve been told that you’re at risk of developing diabetes, get started as soon as possible. Your healthcare provider can help you develop a plan, but it should include:

  • Getting to—and staying at—a healthy weight: Being overweight (BMI greater than 25) increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so if you’re overweight, you should take steps to lose weight. By losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, you can reduce your risk. You can do this by eating smaller portions and being more physically active, which, conveniently enough, are two other ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce portions and eat healthier: You should choose healthier food choices by reducing portions and limiting added fat and sugar. Choose more whole grains, vegetables, and lean meats and dairy products. Seek out new, healthy recipes; there are many cookbooks that offer lower-fat and healthier recipes.
  • A terrific rule to follow is: everything in moderation. Reduce portion sizes overall. Limit your intake of alcohol; you don’t have to entirely avoid it. Eat small, well-balanced meals spread throughout the day; larger meals can make it more difficult to keep your blood glucose level in a healthy range.
  • Exercising: Exercise is important to help prevent type 2 diabetes because it has so many benefits. It can help you lose weight, and if you’re insulin resistant, it can help your body increase its sensitivity to insulin (exercise can help you use insulin better). Plus, exercise keeps your heart strong, makes you sleep better, and can even put you in a better mood.

Vishwas Saraswat

Certified Fitness Trainer (FISAF Singapore)

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