In most cases, diabetes is a condition that is preventable when you understand your risk and take steps to change the factors that contribute to the onset of this disease. While you can’t prevent type 1 diabetes, about 90% of type 2 diabetes cases in the U.S. can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle practices.
Reversing your risk of diabetes takes a serious commitment, but it yields many benefits. In addition to avoiding the nuisance of constant blood sugar monitoring, preventing diabetes also reduces your risk of developing life-threatening complications that accompany this disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, amputations, nerve damage, and vision problems.
To succeed in avoiding diabetes, it’s important to understand the lifestyle practices that increase your risk of developing the condition. The physicians at Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, provide professional diabetes services for patients who have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and those who have the disease. Based on your unique situation, they recommend the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid diabetes or improve your condition if you have the disease.
Here, we discuss the modifiable risk factors for diabetes that you can change. Making these lifestyle changes can help you avoid type 2 diabetes and the complications that come with this disease.
Establish and maintain a healthy weight
Having a healthy weight plays an important role in achieving healthy glucose levels. You don’t have to lose a lot to make an impact. Losing between 5-10% of your body weight lowers your risk of developing diabetes by 58%.
Most people can accomplish this with a low-fat, low-sugar diet that includes smaller portions and eliminates as many processed foods and carbs as possible. Increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil, while reducing the amount of processed meat, red meat, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages you consume, can also help you drop extra pounds.
With so much at stake, it’s important to get help if you can’t reach a healthy weight alone. If losing weight is a struggle, you may benefit from our medical weight management services, in which you work with a weight loss professional to achieve your goals.
Regular exercise is a good way to support your weight loss efforts. Research indicates that regular physical activity can also help to lower your blood sugar levels and prevent or postpone the onset of type 2 diabetes.
An ideal activity goal includes a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of the two, spread throughout the week. However, if exercise hasn’t been a part of your lifestyle for a while or you have other medical conditions, you may benefit from a medical evaluation before initiating a new exercise program.
Take your medication
If you’ve been prescribed medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it’s important to take them as directed. When left untreated, these conditions increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Medication may also be prescribed if you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, a condition in which your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. This medication can help avoid the onset of type 2 diabetes. Even if your lifestyle changes make a difference, it’s important to continue taking your medication until your physician tells you to stop.
Quitting smoking can help you protect against the onset of many serious diseases, including diabetes. Even if you’ve been smoking for decades, quitting can make a difference.
If you smoke, the CDC reports that your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is 30-40% higher than a nonsmoker. At just eight weeks after you quit smoking, insulin becomes more effective at lowering blood sugar.
Make changes permanent
Lifestyle changes can help you avoid diabetes only as long as you continue to maintain them. They don’t have a permanent effect. Returning to an unhealthy weight or avoiding exercise, reestablishes a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Find out more about what you can do to avoid diabetes. Call our office to arrange an appointment today.