Guest Author - Dr. Denise Howard
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a condition characterized by elevated glucose (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance. It is a common problem that is increasing, even in children, due to an increase in obesity and decrease physical activity. If left untreated, it can cause irreversible vascular disease that results in heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, need for amputation and blindness. The good news is this can all be prevented.
Risk factors for diabetes include genetics, obesity, older age, and poor lifestyle habits. There is strong evidence to support the involvement of multiple genes in the development of diabetes, however genes alone do not cause diabetes. Most individuals develop diabetes because of poor nutrition, minimal physical activity and obesity. There are certainly many people who have a genetic predisposition and this canít be changed but early detection allows an opportunity to treat the problem to prevent long term damage.
Exercise, weight loss, and proper diet can help decrease the risk of diabetes and help control blood glucose levels in those with pre-diabetes and T2DM. Regular exercise not only contributes to weight management it helps the body take up glucose more efficiently and even improves insulin sensitivity. The lowering of the blood glucose levels can be seen 24 hours or more after exercise.
It is estimated that 80% of all cases of T2DM can be attributed to obesity. This means that the majority of individuals would not get T2DM if they were not overweight. There is also plenty of evidence to support the role of weight loss in managing and preventing diabetes. Obese individuals who lose a significant amount of weight, especially noted after bariatric surgery, can see improved blood glucose levels and sometimes can even stop taking medication. Many are essentially cured of diabetes.
Poor diet not only contributes to the development of obesity it also impacts the onset and management of diabetes. A diet high in processed and refined foods as well as sugar can trigger diabetes in those who have a genetic predisposition. There are numerous health benefits to adopting a nutritious diet. Prevention of diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and heart disease are a few. Most people feel better and function more effectively if they consume a healthy diet. A balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy, and grains is the key. Healthy diets minimize the intake of refined and processed foods, excessive calories, sugar and unhealthy fats.
For individuals who have pre-diabetes or diabetes, the above advice is also helpful as it helps to control blood glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity and control weight. Medications are also available to assist and these are effective in controlling blood glucose levels. Preventing hyperglycemia is the goal as this will minimize the risk of vascular complications and all the subsequent problems that result.
Preventing diabetes and preventing persistently elevated glucose is the goal. Weight management, regular exercise, and a proper diet is the key to prevention as well as control. If you are concerned about getting diabetes or suffer from diabetes please consider instituting the above lifestyle changes.
I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:
Live healthy, live well and live long!