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Diabetes Prevention

diabetes preventionThe disheartening news is that rates of type 2 diabetes are on the rise. The good news is that this form of diabetes, which was once known as adult-onset diabetes, is preventable for most people. So whether you’ve already been diagnosed with pre diabetes or you’re simply looking into diabetes prevention, the power to stop this disease in its tracks is within reach.

Am I at risk for diabetes?

Anyone, from children to adults, may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some of the biggest risk factors include smoking, drinking, being overweight, and a lack of exercise. But conversely, that gives everyone five different ways to reduce their personal risk of pre diabetes and diabetes:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Staying within the normal weight range for your age, height, body frame and gender (generally, a BMI under 25) is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of diabetes.
  • Get active: Regular exercise is another excellent way to keep healthy. Aim for at least 20 minutes of rigorous exercise, three times a week.
  • Balanced diet: The best foods for diabetes prevention are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, and high in fiber and good fats.
  • Don’t smoke: Smoking increases your risk of diabetes. Some evidence suggests that being smoke-free for 10+ years is also a good way to reduce your risk.
  • Limit alcohol: If you drink, do so in moderation: one drink a day for women, and up to two daily for men.

What are the symptoms of pre diabetes?

Pre diabetes is a condition that develops before type 2 diabetes. If you are diagnosed with pre diabetes, you are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, pre diabetes may have no symptoms. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant though, as some symptoms can develop early – or you may already have diabetes and not know it. Things to look out for include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Blurred vision
  • Acanthosis nigricans (dark patches of skin, generally on the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles)

Using diet to prevent diabetes

A 2011 government study, which analyzed data from more than 200,000 people, found that a nutritious diet was one of the most important factors in diabetes prevention. The great news about the pre diabetes diet plan is that it tastes pretty great: think healthy fats (avocado and olive oil, for example), plenty of lean protein (chicken, fish and turkey), and lots of fruits and veggies. What you shouldn’t eat: red meat, saturated fats, and high-sugar, refined carbs like white bread. Swap fruit juice, soda and other sugary drinks for water, tea and coffee.

Lifestyle changes for diabetes prevention

The second lifestyle change to prevent diabetes is increased exercise. But if the gym isn’t your thing, don’t despair; exercise can be anything you like to do and that works up a sweat. Get competitive with a game of pickup soccer or indoor basketball; run wind sprints with a friend at the local track; or just race your dog down the street during your morning walk. Make-you-sweat household chores, running up the stairs at work, and, yes, even energetic sex can also help reduce your risk. Finally, cut down on TV. Research shows that for every two hours you watch everyday, you increase your risk by about 20 percent.

Combining diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk of pre diabetes

This five-step equation may sound complicated or even intimidating, but it’s really not. In fact, that same 2011 government study found that meeting just one of those five changes can cut your odds of developing diabetes by middle age by up to 33 percent. That’s encouraging, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need support along the way.

If the idea of having a constant motivator appeals, then what about a cheerleader who also understands medicine? The physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss work one-on-one with clients to help create personalized diet and exercise programs. They’ll support you every step of the way, giving tough love or an encouraging smile whenever you need it. They’ll also review your medical history, weight-loss goals, and personal preferences – your favorite foods and activities – to help build a foolproof diabetes prevention plan.

If you could use a bit of help, a dose of encouragement, and the know-how of a weight-loss physician, then The Center for Medical Weight Loss could be your solution. The Center has helped thousands of pre diabetes sufferers lose weight, get active and prevent the onset of this preventable disease. Join them. Get started today by plugging your zip code into the box at right, and calling the Center nearest you. Introductory offers are available to newcomers in most locations.