Did you know that leading a healthy lifestyle is often the key to preventing diabetes? It’s absolutely true for Type 2 Diabetes, which is by far the most prevalent form of the disease. It’s more common in people who are overweight or lead sedentary lifestyles, and most of the 426 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes have the Type 2 variety. Another 350 million people are at high risk of developing this form of diabetes.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 80% of all cases of Type 2 Diabetes are preventable through the adoption of healthy lifestyles. And if you’re wondering why diabetes is such a big deal, consider this: Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure.
In this blog, we’ll explain the differences between the two main types of diabetes and also give you some tips on how to improve your lifestyle to minimize the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
But first, let’s find out a little more about National Diabetes Awareness Month. Observed each November, this month focuses on raising awareness about diabetes. For 2018 to 2019, Diabetes Awareness Month aims to raise awareness of the impact diabetes has on the families of those suffering from the disease.
What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
The main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is that Type 1 is not preventable. Those with Type 1 Diabetes are often born with it, while some may develop it later in life, but it’s not related to lifestyle. In Type 1 Diabetes, the body stops producing insulin altogether.
Type 2 Diabetes, on the other hand, is often preventable. With this type of diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but is no longer efficient at using insulin to control glucose in the bloodstream so the body becomes insulin-resistant. The likelihood of developing this type of diabetes increases with age.
Of all those suffering from diabetes, approximately 90-95% have Type 2 Diabetes, as opposed to Type 1.
7 Lifestyle Changes that Can Aid in Preventing Diabetes
1. Choose Healthier Food Options
Choose more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, while cutting back on high-fat foods like fried foods, cheese and whole milk, and low-nutrient carbs.
2. Eat Smaller Portions
Not only should you choose healthier foods, but reducing the amount of food that you eat at one time can help prevent diabetes.
3. Move More
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease recommends being active for a minimum of 30 minutes at least five days per week. It doesn’t really matter what you do – dancing, walking, riding a bike, cleaning your apartment – as long as you move your body on a regular basis.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Drink more water and avoid sweet drinks like sodas and juices.
5. Make Better Selections When Eating on the Go
Just because you are in a hurry and stop for fast food doesn’t mean you have to pick the most indulgent option on the menu. Almost all fast food restaurants serve salads or have healthy options. Try grilled chicken instead of fried, for example, or fruit salad instead of the ice cream.
6. Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol from Your Diet
Your body converts alcohol to sugar, so consider cutting back or eliminating alcohol from your diet, especially if you have other risk factors related to Type 2 Diabetes like being overweight or having diabetes in your family history.
7. Reduce Stress in Your Daily Life
Stress is thought to release hormones that increase blood sugar levels, so try activities that reduce stress like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walking, listening to music, reading, or other activities that help you to relax.
You can begin implementing these lifestyle changes at any age. It’s never too early to make healthy improvements to your daily routine. Implement habits now to help prevent diabetes down the road!
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