Simple Steps to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes stands as one of the world's most significant chronic health challenges, impacting approximately 4.2 million people globally. This complex condition manifests as a clinical syndrome, marked by elevated blood glucose levels due to either an absolute or relative deficiency of insulin. This insulin insufficiency disrupts the body's intricate metabolic processes involving carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. In our exploration of this multifaceted condition, we will delve into its three primary forms and the critical insights that can help individuals better manage their health.
Types Of Different Types of Diabetes
In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, leading to an inadequate production of insulin. As a result, the body lacks the necessary insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, resulting in elevated glucose levels.
Conversely, Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body's ability to produce insulin, but the target cells do not respond effectively to this hormone or utilize it properly. Initially, the pancreas compensates by producing more insulin to counteract the elevated blood sugar levels. However, over time, the pancreas becomes unable to maintain this high insulin production, causing sugar to accumulate in the body.
Causes of Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a critical aspect of pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. To dig deeper into what drives it, reflect on the following:
➡️Obesity: Excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen, is a primary driver of insulin resistance. Adipose tissue, or fat cells, release chemicals and hormones that can interfere with insulin's action in cells.
➡️Physical Activity: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to reduced muscle mass and increased fat storage, which exacerbates insulin resistance. Regular physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity.
➡️High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol: In addition to causing damage to the cardiovascular system, untreated high blood pressure has been linked to the development of diabetes. High blood pressure and high cholesterol may increase the risk of developing heart diseases, stroke, and other complications of diabetes.
➡️Unhealthy Eating Habits: Unhealthy eating has duel effects as it is a major contributor to obesity and also increase the risk of insulin resistance. A diet with too much fat, not enough fibre and too many simple carbohydrates all contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
➡️ Smoking: Smoking causes insulin resistance through a combination of factors: chronic inflammation triggered by smoking leads to increased levels of pro-inflammatory molecules that interfere with insulin signaling, altered fat distribution, particularly an increase in visceral fat, which is linked to insulin resistance, and oxidative stress generated by smoking damages cells and disrupts insulin function.
There are several other factors which cannot be avoidable but play an important role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.
➡️Family History: If you have a family history of diabetes, especially in your immediate family (parents or siblings), your risk may be higher due to genetic factors.
➡️Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, have a higher predisposition to developing Type 2 diabetes.
➡️Increased Age: Age is an important factor for type 2 diabetes. As we age, the risk of type 2 diabetes becomes greater. Even if an elderly person is thin, they still may be predisposed to developing diabetes. The pancreas ages right along with us and doesn’t pump insulin as efficiently as it did when we were younger. As our cells age, they become more resistant to insulin as well.
➡️History of Gestational Diabetes: . When pregnant, gestational diabetes generally lasts the duration of pregnancy and approximately 5 to 10 percent of females with gestational diabetes will continue to be affected by diabetes after delivery.
Prediabetes, often referred to as borderline diabetes, is a state in which blood sugar levels are elevated but haven't reached the threshold to be classified as full-blown diabetes. Approximately 7 million individuals in the UK, as estimated by Diabetes.co.uk, find themselves in this prediabetic stage, putting them at a heightened risk of progressing to Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, prediabetes is now acknowledged as a reversible condition.
Scientifically supported, healthier eating and regular exercise can proactively lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes in individuals with prediabetes. These actions enhance overall health and mitigate the progression of prediabetes to a more severe and chronic condition.
Healthy diet; There is convincing evidence that diet rich in whole grains protect against diabetes as the bran and fibre in whole grain cause a slow rise in blood sugar. Avoid processed meat and red meat as they increases the risk of diabetes. Select polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and try to eliminate trans fats (margarine, fried food).
Check your portions: Practicing portion control can help you lose weight and eat a healthy diet. Eating too much or too little of any of the major food group can be bad for your health. For more information check this link
Reduce stress level as stress increases cortisol level which may interfere with glucose metabolism and increases blood glucose level.
Quit smoking: Smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes as compared to non -smokers.
Take home message
"Preventing Type 2 diabetes is entirely possible, even if you're at high risk, by making essential lifestyle changes. The key is to be proactive in identifying prediabetes as early as possible. If you're diagnosed with prediabetes, it's crucial to engage in a conversation with your healthcare provider about crafting a personalized diabetes prevention plan. You'll find a wealth of evidence-based information and resources on reputable websites to support you in this journey." https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/food-and-keeping-active/