Over 29 million Americans are living with diabetes. Due to the widespread nature of this condition, everyone needs to know how to prevent diabetes. Hampton Family Practice knows that including healthy habits will help prevent diabetes. These modest lifestyle changes aren’t difficult to implement and will have lasting benefits to your health and well being.
Being overweight puts you at greater risk of developing diabetes. Fortunately, a modest weight loss of five to seven percent of your body weight can decrease your diabetes risk. A person who weighs 200 pounds would only need to lose 10 to 14 pounds.
Be Physically Active
Exercise lowers your diabetes risk by helping you maintain a healthy weight, decreasing your blood sugar and improving your body’s ability to use insulin. Approximately 150 minutes of physical activity is recommended each week. One way to reach this goal is to divide your exercise into 30-minute sessions on five days each week. Being active doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym or buy expensive fitness equipment. All physical activity counts toward your goal. While a brisk 30-minute walk is a good choice, a few minutes of activity throughout the day works too. Easy ways to start increasing your activity are taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking a little further from your destination. If your lifestyle or work environment is sedentary, you should consult with your doctor before starting a fitness program.
Eating for diabetes prevention means consuming a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, fish, and poultry. You will want to limit or avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary beverages, both of which are associated with increased diabetes risk. A dietitian can help if you find making dietary changes a challenge.
Impact of Diabetes
People who have diabetes usually have a doctor’s plan of care to follow. Managing diabetes usually entails regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and keeping blood sugar and blood pressure under control. Potential short-term complications of diabetes include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (extremely high blood sugar). In the long-term, diabetes is a major cause of kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness, heart disease, and stroke.
Preventing the condition by following healthy living and eating guidelines ensures that you maintain great long term overall health as you age. If you’ve got questions about diabetes prevention, make an appointment with one of our highly qualified physicians. Hampton Family Practice is dedicated to treating the entire family for a lifetime of care. Call us today at (757) 838-6335.