Adopting preventive measures to arrest progression of diabetes at its earliest stage when the symptoms of the elevated blood sugar have not appeared can prevent diabetes.
Lifestyle modification is the essential component of diabetes prevention. By adopting a healthy diet, increasing the intensity of physical activities and quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking and heavy drinking, you can reverse diabetes at the asymptotic stage of the condition or slow down its progression.
Strategies for Preventing Diabetes
Medications play an important role in arresting progression of impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes. In people who have a higher risk of developing insulin resistant diabetes, anti-diabetic drugs are recommended along with lifestyle modifications to maintain normal blood sugar level. Studies suggest that people with pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes may benefit by taking the anti-diabetic drug metformin.
Metformin works by reducing glucose absorption from food and suppressing glucose synthesis in the liver. It also helps to improve the sensitivity of the body tissues to insulin. However, metformin can be taken only for preventing type 2 diabetes. Since it cannot stimulate insulin production, it is not effective in preventing type 1 diabetes.
Nutritional modification is considered the safest and most effective preventive strategy for diabetes. The affect of carbohydrates on the blood sugar level depends upon the body’s response to different types of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate foods that are rapidly digested quickly raises the sugar level in the blood.
On the other hand, carbohydrate foods that are digested slowly gradually release sugar to the bloodstream, thereby preventing high blood sugar related problems. Ingesting foods with low glycemic load such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy helps to keep the blood sugar in the normal range. More than 33 weekly servings of whole grain products can satisfy your calorie requirement without increasing the risk of developing diabetes.
Dietary fibers are non-starchy polysaccharides that delay carbohydrate absorption. A fiber rich diet can slow down progression of diabetes. Cereal fibers are found to be more beneficial than dietary fibers from fruits and vegetables in reducing the risk of diabetes.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people with type 2 diabetes should consume 30 to 50 grams of dietary fibers daily. A predominantly vegetarian diet can meet most of your dietary fiber requirement. If you cannot meet your total fiber requirement only through diet, consider consuming fiber supplements such as psyllium seed husks.
Maintain Healthy Body Weight
The risk of diabetes is higher among overweight or obese individuals. Losing the excess body fat causes significant improvement in the blood sugar levels. Maintaining a healthy body weight through appropriate dietary changes and increased physical activities can protect you from diabetes.
Increased Physical Activities
A sedentary lifestyle increases diabetes risk. Physical activities may help to improve the concentration of insulin in the blood. By increasing glucose disposal, it helps to reduce the blood sugar level.
Smoking may increase resistance to insulin. Diabetes can be avoided by quitting smoking.
Limit alcohol Intake
Studies suggest that low to moderate drinking slows down glucose uptake and increases sensitivity to insulin. Heavy drinking on the other hand pushes up the risk of diabetes by boosting calorie intake and disrupting the carbohydrate metabolism process.
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