Keep Diabetes Under Check: How To Stop Diabetes Before It Starts
Preventing diabetes (type 2) is possible when you take proper measures. Read on for insights into the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how to stop diabetes before it starts.
The International Diabetes Federation approximates that presently 10.5% of adults globally have diabetes. This figure is anticipated to climb to 11.3 per cent (643 million) by 2030. Moreover, India ranks second in diabetic patients, with approximately more than 74 million adults. Furthermore, 40 million Indian adults suffer from Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), exposing them to type 2 diabetes.
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Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes: Are They Preventable?
Type 1 Diabetes Prevention
Type 1 diabetes, previously referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is a persistent medical condition. In this disorder, the pancreas produces minimal or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body requires for sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy and maintain the body's sugar levels.
There are several causes for type 1 diabetes, including genetic factors and viruses. Although usually observed during childhood or adolescence, type 1 diabetes can also occur in adults at any age.
There is currently no known method of preventing diabetes of type 1, researchers are diligently conducting studies to explore possibilities of preventing its onset and limiting the damage to islet cells in those newly diagnosed.
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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body inadequately utilises glucose. This disruption creates excessive amounts of glucose in the blood, eventually leading to conditions affecting the nervous, circulatory, and the immune system.
At the root of type 2 diabetes, two distinct problems can arise. These involve the pancreas not producing sufficient insulin and cells failing to respond to insulin.
Type 2 diabetes can emerge in childhood and adulthood. Although this ailment is often seen in older adults, the increased prevalence of obesity among children has increased type 2 diabetes risk among younger individuals.
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But How To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes And Is It Even Possible To Do So?
Type 2 diabetes is a type of diabetic condition that can be possibly avoided. So, even if you have a familial history of diabetic patients, you can still prevent diabetes or delay its onset with healthy lifestyle choices. Moreover, even if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you can still slow down with a healthy lifestyle like:
- Becoming active: Aim to engage in an average of 45 mins to 60 mins of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, for example, biking, brisk walking, swimming, or running.
- Having a healthy diet: Foods low in calories and fats but higher in fibre, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, can help you achieve your health goals.
- Avoid being inactive for long durations: Remaining sedentary for extended periods can heighten your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Get up early and do some form of exercise.
- Trying to lose weight: Maintaining a healthy weight through moderate loss is a viable solution to stave off the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. For those with prediabetes, a 10-15 per cent reduction in body weight has been proven to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.
Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Feeling constant hunger
- Rapid weight loss
- Increased fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing cuts and infections
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent occurrence of infections
- Dark skin on neck and armpits
- Slower healing process
- Unintentional rapid weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Numbness in your feet or hands
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Risk Factors Of Type 1 Diabetes:
- Genetics: Certain genes are also responsible for developing type 1 diabetes.
- Age: It can appear at any age, but it is noticeable for kids between four to seven years old and 10 to 14 years old.
- Family history: Having a sibling or parent with type 1 diabetes increases your risk of developing this condition.
Risk Factors Of Type 2 Diabetes:
- Fat and weight: Obesity and fat distribution in your body can increase type 2 diabetes risk. Fat stored in the abdomen instead of thighs and hips shows a higher risk.
- Levels of blood lipids: When you have a lower number of good cholesterols in your body and a higher number of LDL cholesterol, your chances of type 2 diabetes increase.
- Age: As you age, your chances of developing this condition increase if you have a positive family history.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: This is a common condition experienced by females. They can see excessive weight gain, hair growth, and an irregular menstrual cycle. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are predisposed to type 2 diabetes.
- Prediabetes: It is a state where blood sugar levels are high but not yet at the level of diabetes. If not treated, prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes.
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How To Prevent The Onset Of Diabetes
1. Make Lifestyle Changes
From excess weight, high cholesterol, and family history to prediabetes, lifestyle modifications can help to impede the development of type 2 diabetes, the most common form. Prevention is especially key if you are currently facing an increased disorder risk.
If you have been identified with prediabetes, lifestyle changes can forestall or inhibit the appearance of the disease.
Making some modifications to your habits at present may help to stop or delay severe health issues associated with diabetes in the future, such as kidney, heart, and nerve damage. You can make lifestyle changes such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat plant-based meals
- Become physically active
- Quit smoking
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Avoid excess intake of sugar
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2. Don't Fall For Crash Diets
Forming healthy habits is vital to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of food groups is important. Many popular diets, such as the paleo and keto, can help you lose weight. Still, there is limited research on their long-term benefits or effectiveness in preventing diabetes.
For sustainable weight loss, focus on creating meals to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating some of your own food preferences and customs into your plan can be beneficial in the long run. A plate-division strategy can help you make smart food choices and measure correct portion sizes.
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3. Prepare Meals And Avoid Junk Foods
Eating junk food is easier when you don't have a proper meal plan for the rest of the day. So, if you are quickly tempted by food, consider planning all your meals in advance, factor in food that tastes good and food that nourishes your body.
Talk to your nutritionist to ensure you include everything you need in your meal. Start prepping meals by making nutritious boxes and taking them everywhere you go.
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4. Get Your Body Moving
Being inactive increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By regularly engaging in physical activity and pushing your muscles to work harder, you can better support your body's ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. This reduces the burden on your insulin-producing cells. Therefore, replace some of your sedentary time with physical activity.
5. Check Your Vitamin D Levels
Evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency may possibly be linked to the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Studies have indicated that low levels of vitamin D can reduce insulin secretion. Supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to restore insulin secretion in animals.
Hence, getting health risk assessments (HRA) regularly is extremely necessary. HRAs can help you shape your lifestyle and promote the prevention of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
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6. Replace Sugary Drinks
According to some studies, it is believed that replacing sugary drinks with coffee can minimise the development of type 2 diabetes. Even Harvard researchers conducted a study on the relationship between coffee and diabetes.
It showed that those who increased their coffee consumption by a daily cup had an 11% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Conversely, those who lowered their intake by one cup per day had a 17% higher risk of the same condition. In comparison, there was no noticeable effect on those who drank tea.
But the reason for coffee's influence on the development of diabetes still remains a mystery.
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Although there are no ways you can prevent type 1 diabetes since genetics and family history plays a major role in its formation, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making the correct lifestyle choices and applying the above prevention methods.
While diabetes is a pandemic in itself, taking control of your nutrition and regularly getting HRAs can help you be aware of your health. Ditch unhealthy habits and try to embrace a healthy life. Also, if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit a doctor immediately before the situation turns serious.
Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.
The above article contains inputs from Dr. S. K. Wangnoo, a Senior Consultant Endocrinologist at the Apollo Centre for Obesity, Diabetes & Endocrinology (ACODE) of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
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