Published: 01/25/2014 - Updated: 02/08/2016
If current trends continue, it is estimated that by 2050 one in three adults will suffer from this disease. While these statistics are discouraging, the reality does not have to be this way: Type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting certain changes in our diet and lifestyle. If you belong to a group at risk of developing it, go ahead and start taking preventive measures today.
What is diabetes?
It is a disease in which the body cannot process glucose properly, which we get from the food we eat. When diabetes occurs, glucose cannot enter the cells as normal and so this promotes high levels of glucose in the blood, which triggers a series of problems including kidney damage, blindness and heart conditions, among others.
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 5% of all patients with diabetes and can occur in childhood. In Type 1, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, so hormone injections have to be applied as a way of treatment. Another treatment option is the insulin pump.
Diabetes Type 2 affects the vast majority of diabetic patients, seeing arout 90 to 95% affected, and despite the attendance of insulin, the body cannot use it properly. Sufferers should try not to resort to insulin injections as first choice treatment, as a healthy, balanced diet and exercise help combat it. Medication can also be used for treatment.
What makes you more likely to get it?
Relatives with diabetes mellitus: Genes certainly play an important role when we talk about diabetes, so if any of your relatives suffer it, especially direct relatives, this increases your risk of developing it.
Ethnicity: According to investigations, the race also influences probability of developing diabetes. African Americans, Latin people, Asians, Native Americans and indigenous Pacific Islanders are at higher risk of developing diabetes.
Age: People over 45 years old are more likely to develop diabetes.
Watching TV: Recent research has shown that spending two hours watching television daily may increase our risk of diabetes by up to 20%.
A diet high in sugar: While eating sugar does not necessarily cause diabetes, consuming excessive amounts does indeed increase our risk of suffering it, so it is advisable to moderate your sugar intake.
Consumption of sugary drinks: People who regularly consume these types of sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and processed juices are more likely to develop diabetes.
Excessive consumption of red meat: According to statistics, eating a daily serving of red meat of 85 grams or more can increase the risk of developing diabetes Type 2 by up to 20%.
Sedentary lifestyle: A lack of physical activity has also been linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Excess weight: Especially when fat is around the waist, this is a risk factor for this disease. Experts recommend keeping a circumference of less than 89 inch in the waist.
If you have reviewed your risk factors and consider that you meet some of the above mentioned ones, the first thing you should do is check your fasting glucose levels to know how you are doing. This test usually takes 8 to 12 hours of fasting and you can consult your doctor about the results.
It is also important to start making changes in your diet and other health-affecting behavious. Include a routine of regular physical activity and attempt to moderate your intake of foods high in simple sugars.