How To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

How To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in the United States that some doctors have labeled it an epidemic. This description may be accurate, but it leaves the impression that people have no choice in the matter. Will you get type 2 diabetes? The answer has to do with a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices. Fortunately, you have control over the latter. Here is an explanation of the three main factors that determine your risk of developing diabetes.

Genetics

In life, it is said that you have to live with the hand you’re dealt. To some extent, this is true. Genes are passed down from parents to children and encoded with genetic material that will determine the color of your eyes and hair, how tall you will become, and which diseases and disorders you are more likely to develop. Notice that genes can make a disease like type 2 diabetes more likely, but not for sure.

So, how do genes contribute to a person developing diabetes? First, if your parents or relatives have type 2 diabetes, they may pass along the mutated genes that control insulin production and resistance. It is also possible to inherit the genes with this specific mutation but never develop diabetes. If you have inherited the gene, however, you can take action to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. It just requires some self-control.

Diet

Lifestyle choices play a significant role in determining whether someone will develop type 2 diabetes, and eating healthfully is the best way to prevent diabetes. Your body uses glucose from the foods you eat as fuel. When your glucose levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, which takes the glucose to your cells for energy or tells your body to store the energy as fat.

Problems arise when your glucose levels rise beyond the ability of the pancreas to control them with insulin. When your blood glucose remains high for too long, you develop insulin resistance, and the pancreas can no longer process all the sugar coming in. This is when you can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This results in more glucose stored as fat, which leads to all sorts of weight-related health problems.

The good news is that you control the food that goes into your body. By eating whole, unprocessed foods with a low glycemic index, you can prevent prediabetes and, therefore, type 2 diabetes. The glycemic index is a measure of how much a certain quantity of a food or beverage will raise your blood sugar. Eating foods lower on the index results in fewer insulin spikes and a lower chance of developing insulin resistance.

The key to healthy eating is understanding that it is not a fad diet to suffer through for a few months. Instead, it is a sustained lifestyle choice to maintain for the rest of your life. Because most of the food sold in restaurants in the US is unhealthy, you will have to learn to cook. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy cooking healthy meals for yourself and your family. Think of it as your new hobby.

Exercise

The second lifestyle choice you should integrate into your day is exercise. Exercise helps your cells process glucose and insulin better. Working out your muscles raises your heart rate and helps your body use up glucose in your muscles, which is stored as fat. When done consistently, you can lower the overall glucose levels in your blood, lessening your risk for type 2 diabetes.

To prevent diabetes, you should do a combination of cardio and resistance training. Low-impact cardio includes walking, cycling, and swimming. For a little more intensity, you can play tennis or do aerobics. When it comes to weight lifting, you don’t need to become the Incredible Hulk. Simply working out with light dumbbells or on the machines at the gym will be enough.

Even if type 2 diabetes runs in your family, don’t be discouraged. Taking control of your health isn’t as frightening as it sounds. You can do it!

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