Five Ways to Prevent Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at an increased risk for developing diabetes. Although these numbers are alarming, the complications that diabetics can encounter are even more frightening. Kidney, nerve, skin and eye disorders can develop and may even lead to blindness and limb amputation!
Here are 5 ways you can prevent diabetes:
- Avoid all forms of tobacco. Smoking negatively affects every system in the body. Research shows that smokers are three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers. If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is quit.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body weight is a major risk factor for developing diabetes. Losing just 7% of your weight can dramatically improve your health and decrease your risk for developing diabetes.
- Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity and exercise helps to control blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. It also helps to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which reduces your risk of developing insulin resistance, thus lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes. Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking, swimming or weight training at least four days per week.
- Choose a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Choose a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose unrefined carbohydrates that contain high levels of fiber and have a low glycemic index to help keep blood glucose levels low. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats, which increase your risk for diabetes. And finally, learn how to use food labels so you can make the healthiest choices possible.
- Know your risk. There are many risk factors for diabetes that are preventable. It’s important to know your risk level so you can make healthy choices to help lower your risk. Take the Diabetes Risk Test to know and understand your risk.
Living a healthy lifestyle is your best weapon to win the war against diabetes!
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Photo credit: Jessica Spengler