Over 24 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and that number is expected to reach 48 million by 2050. To stem the tide, experts are pushing updated guidelines to help people reduce their risk of developing this potentially-debilitating disease.
How to Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes can cause a myriad of physical problems that can seriously diminish a person’s quality of life. In some instances, it can even lead to blindness, kidney failure and loss of limb. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, when people take the following steps to improve their health.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes seven fold, while obesity increases it by 20 to 40 times that of someone with a healthy weight.
- Inactivity also promotes diabetes. By working your muscles, you improve their ability to absorb glucose and use insulin, putting less stress on your insulin-making cells.
- Choose whole grains. A growing body of research suggests whole grains protect against type 2 diabetes, while refined grains lead to increased risk.
- Stop drinking soda. Studies indicate that even one sugar-sweetened beverage per day can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes by 83 percent.
- Be picky with fat. Healthy, polyunsaturated fats from nuts, seeds and liquid vegetable oils help ward off diabetes, while Trans fats do the opposite.
- Watch your meat intake. Studies have also linked red and processed meat consumption with an increased risk of diabetes, even when people eat only small amounts.
- Stop smoking. Smokers are approximately 50 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to nonsmokers.
When to See a Doctor
Unfortunately, about 6 million Americans suffer from diabetes unknowingly. If you experience, increased thirst, hunger, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision or slow healing, visit a physician and get tested for this all-too-common ailment.