Changes are, you are aware that diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in our country. What you may not know though is that up to nine in ten diabetes cases are preventable? It’s true: Type 2 diabetes, which represents 95% of all diabetes diagnoses, can often be prevented by making simple and achievable lifestyle changes.
There’s no time to start like now. Not only because November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, But also because your opportunity for prevention starts to shrink rapidly once your blood sugar escalates to prediabetic levels.
Although being diagnosed with prediabetes can be anxiety-provoking, it can also empower you to make necessary changes. Dr. Bhavani Jeereddy, of Kenilworth Primary Care offers the following advice on how.
Prediabetes, the major precursor stage to type 2 diabetes, is more common than you may realize. It affects some 84 million Americans. That’s one in three adults. More startling than that statistic is the fact that 90% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.
Type 1 diabetes, which usually emerges during childhood, is the result of the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin, the hormone that helps dietary sugars enter your body cells where they’re converted into energy. This type of diabetes has no precursor stage and can’t be prevented.
Type 2 diabetes, the form, by far the most common, on the other hand, is largely preventable. It develops when your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with demand or when your cells become insulin resistant. That means they no longer respond normally to insulin.
Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are elevated beyond what is healthy, but not quite elevated enough for you to be considered diabetic.
The good news is you can reverse prediabetes
Fortunately, most cases of prediabetes can be completely reversed with specific lifestyle changes. Dr. Jeereddy offers the following steps to help you prevent full-blown diabetes, or delay its onset:
If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds is one of the most important steps you can take toward improving your blood sugar levels.
Even losing 5% of your body weight may be enough to reduce your blood sugar levels and reserve your condition.
To put this in perspective: If you weigh 240 pounds, for example, you’d only need to lose 12 pounds to lose 5% of your body weight.
Your body is made to move, and, in fact, most of us feel better when we do. Regular exercise is crucial for preventing your prediabetes from becoming a case of full-blown diabetes.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days of the week. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Many people get their daily 30 minutes of exercise in by taking a brisk 10-minute walk after each meal.
A healthy diet is built on fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. It also means avoiding or at least limiting highly processed foods, foods that contain trans fats, and those with added sugar.
What you choose to drink is important too. When possible, go for water or unsweetened beverages such as plain tea, or coffee. Avoid alcohol, energy drinks, fruit juice, and all sodas.
Protecting your long-term health
Consider your prediabetes diagnosis a wake-up call. To learn more about how to prevent developing or managing diabetes, contact Dr. Jeereddy at Kenilworth Primary Care.
Call (908) 276-9595, or request an appointment using the online booking tool.