Research tells us that type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to age and obesity, and no-one can deny that these are factors on the increase in our ageing, well fed and sedentary society.
Diabetes is in fact one of the leading causes of premature death, with many in the population having the disease without even knowing it.
So, how can you reduce your chances of getting diabetes? Let’s take a look at some of the facts.
First of all, what is ‘prediabetes’?
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than it should be, but not high enough to diagnose you with diabetes.
You may be at risk of developing prediabetes if:
- You are age 45, or over.
- You are overweight – especially with a waist circumference over 94cm for men, or 80cm for women.
- You have high LDL cholesterol and/or high Triglycerides, or low HDL cholesterol levels.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have a family history of type II diabetes and/or heart disease.
- You are physically inactive.
- You belong to certain ethnic backgrounds, such as the Asian, Pacific Islands, or the Indian sub-continent.
- You are a women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
- You are a women who has experienced gestational diabetes, or delivered a baby more than 9Ibs.
Should you get treatment for prediabetes?
Yes, you should!
Studies have in fact shown that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes through changes to their lifestyle, including modest weight loss and regular physical activity.
For some people with prediabetes, changing their lifestyle can actually turn blood glucose levels to a normal range once again.
5 ways to help you avoid type 2 diabetes
#1 Lose weight
At least 80 percent of people who develop type 2 diabetes are overweight. However slimming down may help you to avoid the disease.
If you need to lose weight, losing a mere 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can make a huge improvement in your health.
You should aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week through improving your diet, and increasing your exercise levels.
#2 Move more
Exercise improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin, aids blood sugar control, and can help you lose weight.
But, most people have become so sedentary in everyday life that the very thought of exercising sends shock waves through their body!
However, the facts are clear, simply moving more that you normally do will be beneficial to your health. You should take every opportunity to be more active throughout the day, and make all your activities count by putting plenty of energy into them.
Here are 6 way to be more active in every day life:
- Limit watching TV to a couple of hours per day, and rather than using the remote control, get up to change channel each time.
- During the programme adverts, get up and move around, tidy something, do a few press-ups – don’t just sit there vegetating!
- When talking on the phone walk around as you talk.
- When you arrive at work park your car further away and walk the rest.
- Always use the stairs rather than the lift.
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times per week. Go for activities such as brisk walking, swimming, hill walking, cycling, and aerobic exercise classes.
#3 Eat well
Following a healthy diet will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Here are some tips:
- Make sure your portions aren’t too big.
- Aim for more than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
- High fibre carbohydrates can be included with each meal, just take care with your portion size. Between 45 and 65 percent of your daily calorie intake can come from carbohydrates. Check out these tips for eating more wholegrains.
- Protein foods (meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts) should make up between 15 and 20 percent of your total daily calories. Try to choose protein foods that are lower in fat.
- No more than 20 to 35 percent of your total daily calories should come from fat. Of those calories, no more than 7 percent should come from saturated fat, and you should try to avoid all trans fat.
- Try to use healthy cooking practises, such as steaming, grilling and baking foods.
- Go for low fat dressings for salads, and avoid adding butter or margarine to vegetables.
- Sugar should be limited as part of a healthy diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
- Try to moderate your salt intake by not adding it in your cooking, or at the table.
#4 Stick to a schedule
Avoid delaying or skipping meals, and binge eating wherever possible. These eating practises can really play havoc with your blood-sugar levels.
Instead aim for 3 small meals, and 1-2 light snacks spread out evenly throughout the day.
Here is a typical schedule you could rework to fit your daily routine:
- Breakfast at 8am
- Mid-morning light snack around 10.30am
- Lunch around 1pm
- Mid-afternoon light snack around 3.30pm
- Evening meal around 6pm.
#5 Drink plenty of fluids
A good fluid intake is important for your all-round health. Try to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day.
While drinks such as tea and coffee do contribute somewhat to your fluid intake, think of these as additional sources. Water is ultimately the best source of hydration, and doesn’t contain any of the other nasties such as caffeine or sugar.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing diabetes, do visit your doctor to have a fasting plasma glucose test, or an oral glucose tolerance test for confirmation.
But, above all, try not to worry. Excess stress can actually raise your blood sugar levels. For tips on reducing stress levels check out this article.
Have you been diagnosed with prediabetes? Do you have any other questions you’d like answered?