Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in Alabama. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. When it comes to type 2 diabetes prevention is very important. It’s especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if you’re at increased risk. Risk factors include being overweight, having a family history of the disease, or if you have been diagnosed as prediabetic (also known as impaired fasting glucose).
Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthfully, becoming more physically active, and losing a few extra pounds. It’s never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes in the future, such as nerve, kidney, and heart damage. Consider these diabetes prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association.
Ways to Reduce a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis
1. Get more physical activity
There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you:
- Lose weight
- Lower your blood sugar
- Boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range
Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
2. Get plenty of fiber
Fiber may help you:
- Reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Promote weight loss by helping you feel full
Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
3. Go for whole grains
It’s not clear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains.
Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including bread, pasta products, and cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
4. Lose extra weight
If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.
5. Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices
Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet, or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first. But their effectiveness at preventing diabetes and their long-term effects aren’t known. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients and often craving such foods. Instead, make variety and portion control part of your healthy eating plan.
When to talk to your provider about type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if:
- You’re age 45 or older
- You’re an overweight adult of any age, with one or more additional risk factors for diabetes, such as a family history of diabetes, a personal history of prediabetes, or an inactive lifestyle
After age 45, your doctor will likely recommend screening every three years.
Share your concerns about diabetes prevention with your provider. He or she will appreciate your efforts to prevent diabetes and may offer additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors. Find more resources and information at the American Diabetes Association website
To make a primary care appointment or speak with a provider regarding your screening for diabetes, click here.