According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million US adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes. The rate of new diabetes diagnoses remains steady, but it continues to be alarming. Nearly 10% of US adults are living with diabetes, with the CDC reporting the disease as the 7th leading cause of death in the United States – accounting for 3% of deaths in 2017. Serious health complications caused by diabetes include blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and the need for amputation of a patient’s lower extremities. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. The food we eat is converted into a sugar called glucose to be used as energy. An organ near our stomach called the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin to help move glucose into the bloodstream. In type 1 diabetes, these people’s bodies do not produce enough insulin or any at all, so they need to supplement their supply. On the other hand, the bodies of people with type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin effectively. Type 1 diabetes requires supplements but the risks of type 2 diabetes – which is more common in middle-aged and older people according to the NIDDK – can be controlled with proper diet and exercise.
Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes a day will help you lose weight and improve insulin sensitivity, or your body’s ability to use the sugar in your body for energy. Exercise will also help use up excess blood sugar for muscle contraction. This is proven by a study by Ryan AS (2000). Cardiovascular exercises like biking, swimming, dancing, hiking, and brisk walking are great options.
Control Your Carb Intake
Blood sugar mostly comes from carbohydrates. If your body fails to regulate your glucose levels with insulin, hyperglycemia can manifest as fatigue, headaches, frequent urination, blurred vision, and increased thirst. These can greatly impede your ability to function normally. Control your carb intake by following a low-carb diet to reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes over time
Increase Fiber Intake
Fiber slows down your body’s carb digestion and sugar absorption. As a result, your blood sugar will increase more gradually and reduces risks of hyperglycemia. Soluble fiber has been found to be more ideal in lowering blood sugar levels while a high-fiber diet has been found to be beneficial even to Type 1 diabetes patients. Finally, sufficient water intake has always been linked to better health. Through frequent urination, your body can also flush out excess sugar from your system. It also rehydrates your blood and reduces the risk for diabetes-related complications. Your best option is to stick to water and other non-caloric drinks for better health. With regular physical activity and proper nutrition, you can prevent diabetes and its associated complications.