One-fourth of people don’t know they have diabetes—a worrying fact, given the complications of regularly high blood sugar: heart attack, stroke, sight-robbing eye disease, kidney failure, and foot amputation. Worse, another 86 million adults have prediabetes, a condition of raised blood sugar just below the threshold for diabetes.
The majority of cases are type 2 diabetes. It’s a condition characterized by insulin resistance, meaning that cells in the body fail to respond to insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make sufficient insulin.
7 tips to help reduce the risk for diabetes:
Lose excess body fat. Being overweight is a huge risk factor for diabetes. In contrast, every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight loss decreases diabetes risk by 16 percent.
Follow a plant-based, low-calorie diet. Eat a selection of fruits and vegetables. Dietary pattern studies show lessened diabetes risk with these foods. Foods to avoid are those high in Trans fats (also called hydrogenated fat), saturated fat, and sugar.
Drink water regularly. Studies associate sugar-sweetened beverages with obesity and diabetes. Cut them out of your diet so that the risk for both circumstances decreases.
Exercise. Physical inactivity increases the risk for diabetes. Exercise makes our body cells more sensitive to insulin.
Stress less. The stress response promotes the release of several hormones that increase blood sugar. Studies show that mindfulness meditation increases the ability to manage stress. Physical activity and social support also help diminish stress.
Sleep well. Chronic sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep raises the risk for diabetes and obesity. If you have constant problems in sleeping, contact your doctor.
Keep medical appointments. Warning signs of type 2 diabetes are less vivid than those of type 1 diabetes. That’s why it’s essential to see your doctor regularly.