Type 2 diabetes is a long-term health problem affecting millions of people around the world. It is usually a result of two interrelated issues – the pancreas secretes little to no insulin, and the cells in your body poorly respond to insulin. Consequently, sugar or glucose accumulates in your bloodstream instead of entering the cells, causing high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes can cause serious complications like vision loss, heart disease, and kidney failure when left uncontrolled. Although type 2 diabetes has no cure, your Newport Beach endocrinologist recommends the following measures to lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Engage in regular physical exercise
Regular physical activity reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and helps you stay within your ideal weight. Usually, individuals with prediabetes have insulin resistance or reduced insulin sensitivity. That means the cells in your body are not responsive to insulin, so they do not take in sugar. Therefore, the pancreas has to secrete more insulin to get sugar out of your bloodstream and into the cells.
Regular exercise makes the cells more sensitive to insulin, meaning your body needs less insulin to control blood sugar levels. Various physical activities can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. They include high-intensity interval training, aerobic exercise, and strength training.
The good news is that you don’t have to do high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits; even short exercise bouts like brisk walking are great options.
Reduce carb intake
Dietary changes like watching the quantity and quality of your carb intake are important factors to consider in preventing type 2 diabetes. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into small sugar molecules, which are absorbed into your bloodstream to provide energy. As the sugar molecules enter the bloodstream, blood sugar rises, stimulating the production of more insulin – a hormone that helps sugar or glucose to enter the cells.
If you have prediabetes, your body’s cells poorly respond to insulin action, so sugar builds up in the bloodstream. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to lower blood sugar. When prediabetes is left unresolved, blood sugar progressively remains high, and the condition progresses to type 2 diabetes.
You want to limit your added sugars or refined carbs to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Instead of consuming such carbs, consider replacing them with food items that don’t affect our blood sugar levels. Carbs rich in fiber are a better option; they include non starchy vegetables like mushrooms and broccoli, oatmeal, whole fruit, whole grain bread, and pasta.
Avoid foods and drinks with added sugars; these include dessert, candy, white bread, soda, sweetened breakfast cereal, and pasta.
Make water your primary beverage
Drinking water anytime you are thirsty will help you limit beverages that spike up your blood sugar levels. You can slowly but gradually try replacing other drinks with water for better blood sugar management and insulin response. Taking one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per day may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by 18%.
Reserve a session with your healthcare provider at Dr. Sean P. Nikravan, MD, FACE, to learn about type 2 diabetes prevention tips.