Diabetes is among the fastest growing health issues today in India.
The rising prevalence of diabetes is primarily driven by a combination of various factors such as rapid urbanisation, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, tobacco use, and even increased life expectancy.
Although there are certain factors one can’t change such as your genes, age or past behaviours, but there are many actions one can take to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Dr Varsha Khatry, Head – Medical and Scientific Affair at Roche Diabetes Care India shares some easy ways to not only reduce the risk of diabetes, but also prevent it.
Lose The Excess Body Fat
One of the primary reasons for diabetes is body weight. Being overweight is a big risk factor for diabetes.
According to studies by WHO, every kilogram of weight loss reduces the risk of diabetes risk by 16 per cent. Moving toward a healthy weight helps control blood sugars.
Your doctor, a dietitian and a fitness trainer can get you started on a plan that will work for you.
Cut Sugar And Refined Carbs From Your Diet
Eating sugary foods and refined carbs can put individuals at risk of developing diabetes. The human body rapidly breaks these foods down into small sugar molecules, which are absorbed into your bloodstream. The resulting rise in blood sugar stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that helps sugar get out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells. The body’s cells are resistant to insulin’s action, so sugar remains high in the blood when it comes to patients with the condition of prediabetes. To compensate, the pancreas produce more insulin, attempting to bring blood sugar down to a healthy level.
Over time, this can lead to progressively higher blood sugar and insulin levels, until the condition eventually turns into Type 2 diabetes. Replacing sugar or refined carbs with foods that have less of an effect on blood sugar may help reduce your risk of diabetes.
Stress affects people with diabetes, including Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. When you have diabetes, stress can affect your blood glucose level. Managing stress with diabetes is just another way to work on managing your blood glucose level.
Alcohol Intake And Smoking
Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can make diabetes and its complications worse. Too much alcohol may cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can impair its ability to secrete insulin and potentially lead to diabetes. Moreover, smoking is bad for health whether one is diabetic or not. Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers. Smoking increases the risk for all diabetes-related health problems, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, and leg and foot infections.
Think Of Exercise As Medicine
Lowering body sugar through exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of diabetes, but it has to be done regularly. Ideally, one should exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes a week. One doesn’t have to become a gym rat. Break up your workouts into smaller chunks – like half an hour a day, five days a week. One can also take up walking, runing or cycling. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan before you start. Physical activity also releases compounds your body makes called endorphins, which elevate your mood.