By Teresa McGillick, Chronic Care Manager at Valor Health
More than 32.4 million Americans have diabetes and another 88 million—that’s one in three people—are pre-diabetic, or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While the statistics are alarming, there are reasons to remain hopeful. Getting type 2 diabetes, even if you’re already prediabetic, can be avoided through simple lifestyle changes that have many other health benefits as well.
Lose the Extra Weight
In a recent study, people lowered their risk of diabetes by 60% by reducing their body weight only 7%. For a 200-pound person, losing 14 pounds can have a huge impact on the likelihood of contracting—or not contracting—diabetes. It’s not always easy, but the results are worth it.
Exercise can help with weight loss, but did you know that it can also keep your blood sugar in check? Breaking up long periods of inactivity actually helps lower blood sugar. Regular exercise can also boost your sensitivity to insulin which helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
A diet consisting of more plant-based foods, particularly those high in fiber, has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes. In addition to helping you lose weight, a fiber-rich diet also slows the absorption of sugars, lowering blood sugar levels and keeping diabetes at bay.
To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Quit Smoking
Eliminate all tobacco use from your life. There are so many reasons to do this, and to prevent type 2 diabetes is a significant one. Nicotine changes cells, making them less responsive to insulin and increasing blood sugar levels; this makes diabetes more likely and more difficult to manage.
Work with your Valor Health Family Medicine Provider
Change, even healthy changes, aren’t easy, so it’s important to utilize every resource. Your Valor Health family medicine provider represents an entire medical team ready to meet you where you are and help you reach your health goals. Providers use a patient-centered approach to customize wellness plans that may include consultations with a dietician or registering in a smoking cessation program. This full understanding means providers can customize care to help you avoid type 2 diabetes—a chronic condition that leads to added healthcare visits, expensive medication—and health risks that include blindness, limb amputation, heart disease, stroke—and even death.
At Valor Health, your complete health is the focus of everything we do. Schedule, and keep, regular wellness visits to learn if you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes. If you are, put your health team to work. Together, you can prevent, or manage, this potentially debilitating disease, and find a happier, healthier quality of life.
To schedule an appointment with a family medicine provider at Valor Health, please call 208-365-6004.