Personal Trainer Nathan Long of Sparks Fitness and Performance helping Nike Roach of 6th Sense Health and Wellness Center exercise correctly
The term “diabetes” describes a variety of metabolic disorders that are characterized by an extended period of high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is a congenital condition in which not enough insulin is produced by the pancreas. This type is unavoidable with no known cause, and is often referred to as ‘juvenile diabetes’. Type 2 diabetes, however, is sometimes referred to as ‘adult-onset diabetes’ and is commonly rooted in a lack of exercise and being overweight, as well as a poor diet. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious heart and kidney problems, ulcers, eye damage, and stroke. It’s not uncommon for diabetic patients to have a portion of a limb amputated due to a complication from the disease.
While it is fairly treatable nowadays, it’s still something people would do well to avoid when possible. Unlike some other serious diseases, diabetes comes with a warning sign: a prediabetes diagnosis. This diagnosis occurs when a patient has higher blood sugar levels than normal, but not quite high enough to be classified as diabetes. This gives the person an opportunity to make the necessary lifestyle changes to fend off the full onset of the disease. Follow these tips to use your prediabetes diagnosis as a jumping off point for a healthier lifestyle, free of diabetes:
- Reduce as much excess weight as possible.
Diabetes is heavily influenced by excess body weight, and losing as much as (healthily) possible is a great way to delay the disease. This is one of most important thing you can do. It may feel tempting to find a trendy fad diet to lose the pounds quickly, but this isn’t ideal. The success rate is much higher for people who do their research on what a healthy lifestyle looks like concerning proper diet and exercise, then adjusting their lifestyle to fit that model. The change must be permanent to be beneficial.
This may seem similar to losing weight, but there’s an important distinction to make between cutting calories for weight loss versus exercising. It’s common knowledge that exercise is a good solution for maintaining general health, but it goes even further for diabetes. Simply put, physical exertion lowers blood glucose levels. It also lowers your insulin resistance. These two factors are so important that it’s recommended that prediabetic patients participate in at least 150-300 minutes of intermediate exercise per week.
- Dietary Changes
Diabetes is more or less centered around food. Focus on replacing high-carb and high-sugar foods in your diet with ones that have a better glycemic index. Try to cut out red meat, opting instead for fish like tuna or salmon. Fruits and vegetables should fill the largest section of your plate (though more heavily with the vegetables as they are lower in sugar than fruits). Additionally, seek out foods high in fiber and low in sodium. For those who are very serious about reversing their road to diabetes, consider a plant-based life style which according to over 8000 research articles is the best ways to reverse a host of medical conditions including diabetes.