Diabetes has two types – Type 1 diabetes more commonly diagnosed in younger children and Type 2 diabetes more commonly associated with later life. It is Type 2 diabetes that has become of particular concern to physicians over the past few years with an increasing number of adults suffering from it at some stage of their lives.
Research has showed conclusively that there are a number of factors that lead to diabetes which cannot be disputed. Whilst hereditary factors are a known cause over which we have no control, the other 2 primary factors are obesity and lack of exercise, both of which worry the medical profession greatly as even children in primary school can be predicted to go on to suffer from type 2 diabetes later in life due to them being overweight and in some cases, even obese at that young age.
Consider Your Diet
When it comes to diabetes, it’s not just about what you eat but about how you eat too. Your diet should be low in saturated fat, salt and sugar but you should also eat smaller amounts regularly throughout the day to maintain a constant blood sugar level. You don’t have to cut out all of the ‘nice’ foods completely but simply look upon them as an occasional ‘treat’ as opposed to them being a part of your daily routine, so the odd cake now and again is OK. But sweeteners in your tea or coffee as opposed to sugar present no real hardship and there are plenty of low-fat and low-sugar alternatives on the market today. Remember also to include your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. It isn’t necessary, however, to have to start buying special diabetic foods though. The key is to keep a balanced healthy diet and to restrict your ‘treats’.
Many people are put off exercise as they believe that this means an hour a day spent in the gym or pounding along roads after work. This isn’t true. Even a brisk walk which gets your heart rate slightly up above normal 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week will be good for you and, combined with a healthy diet, will help you to start to lose weight. If you prefer, you can go for a bike ride and swimming, whilst being great exercise in itself, it takes a lot of weight-bearing pressure off you. If you are extremely overweight and find other forms of exercise too enduring, you’d be surprised at what you can achieve if you were to swim 10 or 20 lengths of your local pool at your own pace, 2 or 3 times a week.
Alcohol drunk in excess can result in hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels), so you should only drink in moderation and follow the medical council’s general guidelines in terms of the number of units you drink per week. It’s also not recommended that you store your entire weekly ‘unit allowance’ up and drink it all in one or two sessions at the weekend. This ‘binge drinking’ is also likely to cause you harm over time, and don’t forget that alcohol has a high sugar content. Smoking too should be cut out completely.
Losing excess weight, above all else, is going to be your best saviour in reducing the risk of you contracting type 2 diabetes and that doesn’t mean having to step on the scales each day until you hit your target weight. These days, the medical experts prefer to refer to you maintaining a healthy BMI index (which stands for ‘body mass index’). You can find out how to calculate your BMI on the internet. There are several sources where you can do this but basically, it means that a healthy BMI should be somewhere around 25. So, by using this formula and adopting a healthy eating plan and exercise regime, you should be able to reduce the risks. And, should you need to lose weight, do it sensibly which means gradually aiming for a loss of around 1 to 3 pounds a week.