The number one line of defense against pre-diabetes is to make changes in your lifestyle. Although there is a strong genetic component tied to the risk of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, studies also show a strong correlation between obesity, stress, and physical fitness.
There are people who are thin and active that develop pre-diabetes, but the majority of those at risk are overweight. Losing excess weight is helpful and reducing or eliminating processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats from your diet is a must if you want to tackle pre-diabetes. If you are inactive, regular exercise can increase your sensitivity to your body’s own insulin and can help reverse pre-diabetes.
The important thing to remember is that medications alone are not enough to address pre-diabetes. Even if your doctor does prescribe a medication to help you in your battle against diabetes, it is very important that you also follow any special dietary guidelines, exercise program, or other lifestyle changing recommendations your doctor prescribes.
1. Lose a little weight – and keep it off
Are you overweight? By shedding just five to 10 percent of your body weight, you can prevent or delay diabetes. But once you get to the weight you want, you’ve got to stay there. Keep up your strategies – like consuming fewer calories and burning off more – and give yourself rewards and reminders about why you want to hold on to your healthier weight.
2. Add more exercise
Try to be physically active for 30 to 60 minutes, five days a week. That doesn’t have to mean you’re sweating it out at the gym every day, and it doesn’t have to be an hour solid. A few minutes of biking, walking briskly or taking the stairs will all add up to make a difference.
3. Change your unhealthy habits as a family
Two reasons why it’s a good idea to involve the whole family in your lifestyle changes: First, it’s easier to stick with healthier foods and physical exercise if you’re all eating from the same menu and involved in similar activities. Second, Type 2 diabetes can have genetic links. If you start changing the way you live your life as a family, the better off all will be .Diabetes is occurring at a younger and younger age. You need to instil these healthy patterns now.
4. Get enough sleep
New research is finding that people who regularly get less than six hours of sleep a night have increased insulin resistance. That means the blood glucose levels in their overtired bodies are not well controlled. Aim for more than six hours of shut-eye.
Studies have shown that high stress levels and a lack of proper sleep cause the body to become less sensitive to insulin. People who do not get enough sleep run a higher risk of both pre-diabetes and insulin resistance and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
There are many things you can do to reduce stress including: yoga, meditation, prayer, talking walks, deep breathing, or finding a hobby. The most important thing is that you learn to recognize stress and take active steps to alleviate daily stresses.
5. Treat your blood pressure and cholesterol more seriously
After you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s more important than ever to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. High blood cholesterol and hypertension can speed you up on the road to cardiovascular disease. Your doctor will likely want to monitor your levels, and may prescribe medication for controlling them. But lifestyle choices like healthy eating and exercise can also help keep these in a normal range.
6. Take blood glucose-lowering medication
Some drugs used to treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar may also help in prediabetes. They’re very effective at preventing or delaying the development of diabetes. Your doctor may suggest a medication if your lifestyle changes alone aren’t having a big enough impact on your blood glucose.
7. Test your blood sugar regularly
Now that you know your blood glucose levels are above normal, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on them. That way, you can tell right away if your choices are making a difference.
By considering all of these strategies, you’ll drastically reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
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