If you’re at risk for Type 2 diabetes now is the time to do something about it.
By far the most common form of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes. In fact, of the more than 34 million Americans living with diabetes up to 95% are facing the Type 2 form of the disease. While it usually develops in individuals over the age of 45, a growing number of young people, and even children, are developing Type 2 diabetes these days, in large part due to weight and dietary issues.
The statistics are sobering. However, if there is one positive thing about Type 2 diabetes it’s that you have an immense amount of control over lowering your risk, delaying and reducing the severity of the disease, and possibly even preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes altogether. It’s going to take some lifestyle changes, but the results are well worth the effort.
The Diabetic Diagnosis Dilemma
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Type 2 diabetes is that most people have no idea they are slowly developing it until symptoms of the disease begin to present themselves. Diabetes occurs as a result of the body’s inability to properly process blood glucose (blood sugar). The result is a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream which can lead to serious health consequences, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye problems, stroke and, if left untreated, in some cases even death.
The catch is blood sugar can build up so gradually it can have little if any impact on how you feel until Type 2 diabetes has already developed. Some signs that you might already have Type 2 diabetes include:
– Unusual thirst
– Frequent urination
– Unintended weight loss
– Undo fatigue
– Blurry vision
– Cuts that are slow to heal.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away and get tested for Type 2 diabetes. A simple blood test will tell your physician if you are diabetic or not, and the sooner you know, the more effectively you can be treated.
Prediabetes - Am I At Risk?
However, this post is about preventing diabetes and that means catching things in what is called the “Prediabetes” phase. So, how do you know if you are prediabetic - someone who might be on the way to developing Type 2 diabetes but not yet seeing any symptoms of the disease. There are a few general factors that greatly increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes:
- Over the age of 45
- Family members - parent, brother or sister has Type 2 diabetes
- Physical inactivity - active fewer than three times a week
- Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy
Additionally, studies have shown that ethnicity may also be a factor, with African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Pacific Islanders at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Clearly, some of these factors are entirely out of your control. However, the two primary contributors to developing Type 2 diabetes are very much in your hands. They are weight and inactivity, which is great news because it means you can play an active role in diabetes prevention.
If any of the risk factors above apply to your life, see your doctor and get tested for prediabetes. The same blood test used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, will tell your physician if you are prediabetic or not. Whatever the results, if you are overweight and inactive, you are still at risk and now is the time to take preventive measures.
If you are experiencing any of the signs of Type 2 diabetes or possess any of the risk factors, please see your doctor and get that simple blood test. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to keeping the diabetes community informed with regular treatment and lifestyle updates. We’re also proud to offer those with diabetes a convenient and affordable way to get all the supplies your doctor recommends. Save up to 65% on diabetic needs, including glucose meters, lancets and test strips, insulin syringes, and pen needles. We also offer a selection of diabetic starter kits and glucose logbooks to help those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes begin an effective and convenient care plan.
Small Steps Can Make A Big Difference
The last thing you want to do if you find yourself at risk for Type 2 diabetes is panic. Not only will panicking do you no good, being at risk doesn’t mean that you’re going to have to turn your life upside down in an effort to prevent the disease from developing.
In fact, losing a small amount of weight and beginning a very moderate activity routine can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), losing just 5-7% of your body weight can make a big difference. To put things in perspective, for a 200-pound individual that’s about 14 pounds. By no means are we insinuating this is a breeze, but it’s certainly not a radical amount of body weight.
Additionally, when CDC recommends regular physical activity, they mean about 150 minutes per week. That’s just 30 minutes a day for five days and the activity doesn’t have to be strenuous. In fact, it shouldn’t be, particularly if you are just beginning an exercise routine. How does a brisk walk around the block sound? That’s all it takes. However, before beginning any exercise program, it’s important to speak with your doctor to assess your physical fitness level and discuss the types of activities you can safely try.
Get this, according to the Mayo Clinic, minimal weight loss and regular exercise can reduce your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%! That’s impressive.
How Diet and Exercise Work to Prevent Diabetes
As we mentioned earlier, diabetes occurs because the body is unable to properly process blood sugar, causing it to build up. When levels become too elevated, it can have dangerous consequences.
Therefore, people with Type 2 diabetes are required to measure their blood sugar regularly, usually multiple times each day. Most use a glucose meter and test strips. Others use a newer testing technology called continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). CGM devices measure blood glucose levels throughout the day and can be more convenient and effective for some people living with diabetes.
The reasons diet and exercise are so important to diabetes prevention has everything do to with controlling blood sugar. Research shows that aerobic and resistance training both naturally lower blood sugar levels and boost the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that helps keep blood sugar in check.
Diet directly correlates to blood sugar control, as well. Carbohydrate foods, processed foods, sugary treats, sodas and sweetened drinks will all spike blood sugar levels. If you are someone in the prediabetic phase this can push you over the edge and into Type 2 diabetes. However, eating more whole grains, healthy proteins such as chicken and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, can help you control blood sugar and dramatically lessen the risk of diabetes.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes - Things to Consider
- If you’re even mildly at risk, get tested. A standard blood test to measure your blood sugar level will tell your doctor if you are prediabetic or if you’ve developed Type 2 diabetes. If you are prediabetic and unaware, chances are you’re not going to do anything about it. When you know, you can begin to make those dietary and lifestyle changes to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
- Consider working with a fitness and or lifestyle coach. The old adage is true, “change is difficult.” Sometimes guidance and support from an expert can help you stay on track to change those dietary habits and stick with a regular activity routine.
- Forget fads and quick fixes. Instead think long-term health. There are countless shed-weight quick diets and fitness fads out there, and while they may work over the short term, it’s highly unlikely for any of us to stick with them. Additionally, some diets are counterproductive to blood sugar control because they limit food groups that provide essential nutrients. Preventing diabetes is about living healthier. It’s about making smarter choices over the long term. You’re better off making smaller steps and sticking with them than rushing into that quick fix.
- Listen to your doctors. If you’re at risk or have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your primary care physician will likely refer you to an endocrinologist who specializes in treating diabetes and will work with you to create a treatment or prevention plan around your individual needs and blood sugar measurements. This program will surely include dietary and lifestyle changes. However, if you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you may also require medication, including insulin treatments which you’ll learn to administer using an insulin syringe or an insulin pen. Listen to your doctors. Sticking to a treatment plan is vital to minimizing and possibly reversing Type 2 diabetes.
Check Out the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program
Perhaps the best go-to resource for information and support regarding diabetes prevention is the aptly named National Diabetes Prevention Program put together by the CDC in cooperation with other public and private organizations.
Log on and you’ll find all sorts of insight and pertinent facts regarding prediabetes and diabetes, as well as access to healthcare professionals, support groups, lifestyle and dietary programs, tools and resources, ways to manage stress, and much more.
It’s a fantastic source that will likely answer any questions you have about preventing Type 2 diabetes. You can also find out if you’re eligible for CDC lifestyle-change programs that have been proven to help prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
If you’re at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes or are already prediabetic and don’t yet know it, procrastinating is not going to improve your outlook. In fact, it’ll do the direct the opposite. Now is the time to take control, gather the information, see your doctor, get tested, and begin to do the things you can do to prevent or delay the disease. So much of diabetes prevention is in your hands and that’s why, if you’re at risk, you don’t want to wait around. You need to get started. Good luck.
If you found this post helpful, we hope you’ll check out our others highlighting tips, trends and latest news on preventing and living with Type 2 diabetes. If you are currently living with diabetes, we invite you to save up to 65% on a huge selection of test strips, lancing devices, glucose meters, insulin syringes, pen needles, and continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGM). Shop online and enjoy fast, free delivery on every order at diabeticwarehouse.org.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetic care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including test strips, syringes and needles, glucose meters, continuous glucose monitoring systems, infusion sets, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.