How To Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes​

Diabetes is a disease which causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high. Once you have diabetes, you’re stuck with it for life as there is currently no cure. Those living with the condition must carefully manage their diet and lifestyle, as high blood sugar can lead to blindness, nerve damage, heart-disease, stroke, organ failure and ultimately - death. There are 2 kinds of diabetes to know about: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that affects the body’s ability to make insulin to regulate blood sugar, no-one is sure what causes it, or how to prevent it. Type 2, meanwhile, is usually diagnosed in over-30s and most likely the result of obesity, high blood-pressure and/or high cholesterol. Unlike with type 1 though, at least three out of every five type 2 cases can be prevented or delayed. This is done mostly through a combination of diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle. Here’s a handy guide on how to reduce your own risk of type 2 diabetes:

Watch Your Weight The fact that the dramatic increase in cases of type-2 diabetes correlates with rising obesity levels is not just a coincidence. Obesity is the most common cause, and so maintaining a healthy body weight is imperative to minimizing your own risk. To do this, it is important to keep track of your weight and BMI (body mass index) and ensure that you stay within the recommended levels for your height and age. Simply looking in the mirror and declaring yourself a healthy weight is not enough; your body fat percentage may not always show outwardly. For those of you who are already overweight, don’t panic. While your risk of diabetes is probably greater, there is plenty you can do to change that. Losing just 5kg can be enough to reduce your risk by up to 50%. Obesity has become normalized and accepted in today’s society, but Type-2 diabetes reminds us of the dangers of excess weight.

Stay Active ​Exercise has many obvious health benefits that help us stay fit, burn calories and fight obesity which causes diabetes. But regular workouts play another specific role in helping your body to fight off diabetes. Your muscles are actually the primary organs for helping the body absorb glucose. The body of someone with diabetes struggles to do this, and so by regularly training your muscles through exercise you improve your body’s ability to absorb glucose and decrease your risk of type-2 diabetes.

Know your Good & Bad Fats As you may know, despite their name, not all fats are bad. Some are in fact necessary for your body to function well. These are called ‘good fats’. Good fats provide a range of health benefits including fighting bad cholesterol, promoting good cholesterol improving Heart-Health and even strengthening your brain and memory through omega-3’s. The best examples of good fats include butter, avocado, oils and nuts. ‘Bad fats’ on the other hand are those that cannot be digested or properly used by the body and so are stored in the form of excess bodyweight. Please kind of fats are mostly found in junk foods and excessive consumption can lead to a range of dangerous long-term health problems, Including diabetes. Good fats, on the other hand, actually work to protect the body against diabetes.

Control your Sugar Intake A diet overloaded with sugar is a recipe for no only diabetes, but also a range of other health and weight problems. The kind of sugary junk-foods we need to avoid should be obvious to most of us, but most processed foods contain a variety of ‘hidden sugars’ that we may not even realize we’re consuming. They’re the kinds of foods laden with ‘added sugar’ disguised in forms like ‘high-fructose corn syrup’, dextrose and fructose. The best way to control and regulate your sugar intake is to always check the label on foods you buy and be wary of foods with high amounts of these sugars.