By Kristina Maxwell
World Diabetes Day, which occurs annually on 14 November, was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Foundation to raise awareness of the disease.
Diabetes is a chronic disease where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Lack of insulin impairs how the body metabolises sugars. Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called adult onset diabetes is, for the most part, preventable.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. A person is at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes if he or she has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose levels), has a family history of diabetes or is overweight. Here are some ways you can potentially reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes:
- Get physically active
More physical activity aids in weight reduction, lowering blood sugar and increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. During exercise, muscles use excess sugar in the blood and long duration exercise (greater than 20 minutes) also uses sugars that are stored in the liver. Exercise is also important because it promotes weight loss. Participants in a large study done by the American Diabetes Association showed that people who lost 7 per cent of their body weight reduced their risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 per cent.
- Increase fibre intake
A good starting point in increasing your fibre intake is to cut out refined grains such as white bread and white rice and instead eat whole grains. Aim to have meals centred around vegetables and tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Fibre and whole grains have been shown to improve blood sugar control, lower the risk of heart disease and also promote feelings of fullness, thereby assisting with weight control.
- Avoid fad diets
The key to disease prevention is making healthier choices. Fad diets tend to limit carbohydrates, which lower sugar levels in the body and aid in weight loss initially. However, these types of diet restrictions are hard to — and not healthy to — sustain long term. Long-term exclusion or limitation of carbohydrates can limit essential nutrients and also lead to cravings that can undo all the good previously done.
- Quit smoking
Studies have shown that smoking not only increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, but it also increases the risk of cancer and heart disease as well.
To find out more about how to achieve your rehabilitation goals, contact a healthcare professional at Align Wellness Studio.
Kristina Maxwell is a doctor of physiotherapy at Align, a wellness studio with an integrated approach to physical rehabilitative treatments and preventative care.
This article originally appeared in the November 2019 print edition of Camana Bay Times in the “Align with Wellness” column, with the headline “Ways to prevent Type 2 Diabetes”.