Tips to Delay or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

May 03,2019 |

How to Delay or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Today, roughly 30 million people in the United States are living with diabetes.1 That’s a substantial number of people who have diabetes. In fact, some health professionals have even labeled it as an epidemic. If you’re one of the 30 million who has diabetes, you know what type you have, how to manage it, and the importance of maintaining a healthy blood glucose level. It’s something you need to take care of and monitor on a daily basis. If you don’t, it can mean the difference between life and death. If you don’t have diabetes, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. It is possible to develop diabetes later in life, especially if you have precursors like prediabetes. Close to 84 million people in the United States have prediabetes.1 What does this mean exactly? In the simplest terms, 84 million people are at high risk for developing diabetes.

This often comes as a shock to many people, especially those that thought diabetes was a genetic condition. However, you can, and many people who have prediabetes will, develop diabetes. Luckily, there are some ways for you to delay, or even prevent, type 2 diabetes from developing. In this article, we’ll discuss prediabetes and everything you need to do to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

What’s the Difference Between Prediabetes and Diabetes?

The first thing you need to understand is the integral difference between prediabetes and diabetes. Prediabetes means that you have “elevated blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes.”1 Diabetes is thus when you pass the threshold and have very high blood glucose levels. At this point, your pancreas can’t make enough insulin to regulate your blood glucose properly. You develop an insulin resistance, which makes it impossible for your cells to use your body's insulin to move energy from carbohydrates into your cells.1 Glucose then starts to accumulate in your bloodstream and, when not managed properly, leads to serious complications.

The difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its pancreas with antibodies.6 Type 2 diabetes develops primarily due to lifestyle habits and is considered non-insulin-dependent.6 It occurs when your body stops responding to insulin efficiently.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Since these are more likely to be caused by lifestyle habits, there are things to do to reduce your risks. The biggest risk factors are being overweight or obese, maintaining an unhealthy body mass index, consistent high blood pressure, having a family history of diabetes, and living an overly sedentary lifestyle.1 Age is another determining factor—people over the age of 45 are at a greater risk.

Diagnosing Prediabetes and Diabetes

If you think you have prediabetes talk to your doctor about getting tested today. The only way to know for sure is to get your blood work analyzed. A series of tests are needed to confirm diagnoses for prediabetes or diabetes. The tests include a fasting blood glucose test (FBG), an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and an A1C test.1

To make sure you’re prepared for the FBG test, and ensure an accurate reading, you have to restrain from eating or drinking anything for eight hours prior to your test. The OGTT will look at how your body absorbs glucose after two hours and an A1C test examines your blood glucose levels over the past few months.1

If you receive an FBG of 100 to 125 mg/dL, a two-hour OGTT of 140 to 199 mg/dL, or an A1C that falls between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, your doctor will diagnose you with prediabetes.1

If you receive an FBG that’s greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, a two-hour OGTT that’s greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL, or an A1C that is greater than or equal to 6.5 percent, your doctor will diagnose you with diabetes.1

Certain races and ethnicities are at a higher risk for developing diabetes. They include African Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, Hispanics, or Latinos.1 Since this is not a modifiable risk factor, it’s important to know what you have control over to reduce your chances of developing diabetes.

If you think you might be at risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, check out the risk tests created by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you think you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes or have any concerns about prediabetes, talk to your doctor today. 

It should also be noted that having gestational diabetes during pregnancy contributes to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While it often goes away, you will be at an increased risk level for about 5 to 10 years after childbirth.2 These risks can also impact your child, so the best thing for you to do is make healthy choices as a family and instill healthy habits from an early age.

Diagnosing Prediabetes and Diabetes

If you think you have prediabetes talk to your doctor about getting tested today. The only way to know for sure is to get your blood work analyzed. A series of tests are needed to confirm diagnoses for prediabetes or diabetes. The tests include a fasting blood glucose test (FBG), an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and an A1C test.1

To make sure you’re prepared for the FBG test, and ensure an accurate reading, you have to restrain from eating or drinking anything for eight hours prior to your test. The OGTT will look at how your body absorbs glucose after two hours and an A1C test examines your blood glucose levels over the past few months.1

If you receive an FBG of 100 to 125 mg/dL, a two-hour OGTT of 140 to 199 mg/dL, or an A1C that falls between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, your doctor will diagnose you with prediabetes.1

If you receive an FBG that’s greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, a two-hour OGTT that’s greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL, or an A1C that is greater than or equal to 6.5 percent, your doctor will diagnose you with diabetes.1

Tips to Delay or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

If you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or you have been diagnosed prediabetes, there are a few things to do. It is possible to lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, but you need to make some serious lifestyle changes. Here are 10 essential lifestyle changes to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

  1. Know Your Risk

    The first thing to do is understand your risk factors. Take an online, accredited assessment to learn more about your personal risk factors and how to reduce them. If you’re at high risk, schedule a consultation with your doctor to get tested. While it might be scary at first, knowing what’s going on with your body is the only way to properly care for it.

     

  2. Keep a Healthy Weight

    Carrying excess body fat in or around your abdomen has been shown to increase the body’s overall resistance to insulin.4 The less fat you carry around your abdomen, the more efficient your body’s pancreas and insulin will work. Try to keep a healthy weight. To start, losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.2

     

  3. Get Regular Exercise

    Getting regular exercise will not only help you keep a healthy weight, it also reduces your blood glucose levels.4 Regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress, improve blood pressure, and leads to other healthy decisions throughout the day. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week.

     

  4. Focus on Nutrition

    Rather than reducing caloric intake and adopting a strict diet, focus on eating for nutrition. Eat healthy foods like monounsaturated fats and whole grains.3 Increase your consumption of nuts, berries, vegetables and fruits with high fiber. There are a number of studies that show a Mediterranean diet is helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes.3

     

  5. Reduce Processed Foods

    Processed foods are high in saturated fat, salt, and calories. They don’t have substantial amounts of nutrition, yet we opt for them out of mere convenience. Reduce processed food intake and focus on eating whole, nutritious meals. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare a meal is worth it.

     

  6. Stay Hydrated

    Staying hydrated keeps your organs, skin, and body healthy, but you need to opt for healthy choices. Avoid drinking soda and opt for water instead. Soda decreases kidney functioning and increases your blood pressure.5 Water helps flush out excess sugar.

     

  7. Quit Smoking

    Smoking is terrible for your health and has a number of detrimental effects on your body. For instance, if you’re a smoker, you’re twice as likely to develop diabetes as a non-smoker.4 If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor today.

     

  8. Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcohol leads to weight gain and drastically increases your blood pressure over time. Limit your alcohol intake throughout the week and avoid having more than one or two drinks per day to help delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion

Regardless of if you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or your prediabetes has advanced to type 2 diabetes, it’s important to manage your condition and take preventative action. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and keep your prediabetes under control. If you need extra support after a diagnosis, sign up for Byram Healthcare’s Caring Touch At Home Program. Our program focuses on exceptional customer service and top-of-the line brand name products to make sure that your needs are covered while reducing out of pocket expenses. The Caring Touch At Home Program combines convenience, affordability, and choice to deliver extensive service and support to everyone living with diabetes.

For added support, Byram Healthcare has developed the Diabetes Center of Excellence—a one source, total solution for diabetes care. High quality products paired with clinical and educational resources allows Byram Healthcare to help support your needs. Browse our products, find resources, and learn more about our Caring Touch At Home Program today.

Sources:

1) https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/about-diabetes/types-of-diabetes/diabetes-awareness-delay-or-prevent-type-2-diabetes/

2) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes

3) https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/39/Supplement_1/S36

4) https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ten-tips/10-tips-to-help-prevent-type-2-diabetes

5) https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-prevention

 

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