by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
This unfortunately common disease is highly preventable. Take steps now to avoid being at risk …
November is National Diabetes Month. A healthy lifestyle helps prevent or eliminate type 2 diabetes. Identifying risk factors allows a proactive approach. Instead of life-threatening complications, individuals can make improvements that reverse (or prevent) this condition.
Signs of type 2 diabetes may not appear at the onset. They also may be inconsistent as blood sugar level fluctuates. This helps explain the large amount of undiagnosed cases. When symptoms are present, they usually include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, including of skin, gums, and vaginal area
Lifestyle factors are a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Poor diet and lack of exercise affect the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. They also contribute to weight gain, another risk factor. Being overweight is often linked to diabetes, although thin people can develop type 2 as well.
High blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels contribute to risk. All of these factors can be improved, and perhaps eliminated, through frequent exercise and healthy nutrition.
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age. The world’s highest rates are found among ages 40 to 59. Men are slightly more at risk than women. In the United States, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are at a higher risk than Caucasians.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome or who had gestational diabetes are at increased risk. One can also be genetically predisposed.
Although you may not experience ongoing symptoms, diabetes must be continuously monitored. Unlike being unaware of your favorite dessert’s calorie count, ignorance is not bliss in this situation.
30 Minutes Daily
Aim to exercise 30 minutes daily. When you only manage five/six out of seven days, you will still meet the minimum requirement. Include cardio and strength training for the best impact on blood sugar levels. Consider a Group Fitness class or swimming combined with time on the Fitness Floor or in the Pilates studio.
If you already have type 2 diabetes, a regular fitness routine can help maintain blood sugar control. Carefully follow instructions from you physician, like monitoring and medication timing, to avoid sudden shifts in glucose levels. The Center nurse is always available, if you need additional support. A personal trainer can help create a safe fitness program customized to any special needs.
Nutritionists often recommend everyone follow a diabetes-safe diet. Rich in vegetables, low-fat protein, and whole grains, this diet promotes steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. Avoid sugars and simple carbohydrates. Be mindful of fruit intake, which can be high in natural sugar and calories.
Try to eat small meals or frequent healthful snacks. Protein-rich choices like nuts, low-sugar Greek yogurt, peanut butter on whole wheat crackers, or low-fat cheese minimize hunger. They also help avoid drastic spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.
Losing only seven percent of excess body weight has a positive impact on blood sugar. Adding a BodyPump™ class and an extra day of weights may be all it takes to get you—and your sugars—in shape.
Daily stress is more than a nuisance. It affects the body’s hormone production, elevating cortisol levels that contribute to fat build up (especially the more dangerous fat around the waistline). Stress wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels, bad cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and many other bodily functions. The mind-body connection is undeniable.
Breathe, kettlebell, Zumba®, and meditate your way to reduced stress. The benefits go beyond a better mood and happier relationships. Stress reduction helps prevent chronic illness and diseases.
Let It Show
Announcing a condition like diabetes can literally save your life. Today’s ID jewelry comes in many attractive forms, from bracelets to tags and charms. Alert others of your condition, including coworkers, personal trainers, the Center nurse, fitness companions, and loved ones. Keep a treatment kit with you at all times with clear usage instructions. Awareness is essential.
Diabetes kills 1.5 million people every year worldwide. This number is expected to double by 2030. Your workout today helps prevent you from being part of that alarming statistic.
“Type 2 Diabetes Statistics and Facts,” at healthline.com.