November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a call for awareness and action surrounding the disease that affects one in five Americans. More than 37 million Americans have diabetes and approximately 96 million are considered prediabetic.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease typically detected at an early age, anyone can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, and it is possible to live with the disease for years before knowing you have it.
If you are prediabetic or just want to make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing the disease. Positive lifestyle changes and healthy habits carried out over long periods of time have been shown to mitigate the risk factors of developing type 2 diabetes, such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet.
6 Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
- Lose excess weight. Being overweight leads to high blood sugar levels and negatively affects your body’s ability to use insulin. Losing even a small amount of weight can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods that are low-fat and high-fiber. It also means avoiding unhealthy fats, processed foods, and foods that are high in added sugars, such as sodas, candies, and baked goods. A healthy diet brings a multitude of health benefits, including lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Get regular exercise. Physical activity can help you control your weight, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve your insulin sensitivity. Many health experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Avoid or quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of diabetes by making your body more resistant to insulin and damaging your blood vessels. Quitting smoking can lower your blood sugar levels and improve your overall health.
- Manage stress. Stress can raise your blood sugar levels by triggering the release of hormones that interfere with insulin, and make you more likely to overeat or skip exercise. Managing your stress levels with coping techniques like meditation or yoga, or seeking professional help if you feel depressed are great ways to manage and lower your overall stress.
- Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can affect your hormones and metabolism, which can lead to weight gain and increased blood sugar levels. Most people need seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night, and a consistent bedtime routine can help you develop good sleep habits that last.
Columbus Community Hospital is committed to improving the health of our community with educational resources to help avoid preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor today about the steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes and lead a healthier life today.
Call 979-732-2318 to schedule an appointment with the Columbus Medical Clinic.