Diabetes is a serious, life-threatening illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s important to protect yourself against it by staying healthy. Here are nine tips for protecting yourself against diabetes:
Know the Warning Signs
The first step to protecting yourself against diabetes is knowing the warning signs. It’s important to understand what symptoms you should be on the lookout for so that you can catch any problems early and get treatment before they become too serious. The symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
Get Screened Early and Often
It is a serious disease, and early diagnosis can help you control your health. If you’re at risk for developing diabetes, get screened early and often.
The first step in preventing the condition is getting regularly screened for the disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults between the ages of 45 and 65 get tested at least every three years, while adults older than 65 should be tested annually.
If you have symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination, increased thirst, or unexplained weight loss, talk to your doctor about additional testing options.
Control Your Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Weight
High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity are all risk factors for diabetes. As such, they should be monitored closely—especially if they run in your family.
If you have any of these risk factors, make sure to see your doctor regularly for check-ups.
This will help ensure that your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight stay within healthy ranges to reduce your chances of developing diabetes later on down the line.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. The more active you are, the lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Start by adding more activity into your daily routine whenever possible, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the store instead of driving. Gradually increase your activity level until you get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate physical activity per week.
Exercise can also help you manage blood glucose levels if you have diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels after eating, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing insulin resistance.
Make Healthy Food Choices
Eating healthy foods is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Here are some tips for making healthy food choices:
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Choose whole grains instead of refined grains.
- Limit added sugars and sodium (salt).
- Eat less than six ounces of red meat per week, and avoid processed meats completely.
Get Plenty of Sleep
According to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people who sleep less than six hours per night are more likely to develop pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. And if you already have diabetes, getting enough sleep can help you manage it better.
The reason is that sleep deprivation causes your body to produce more cortisol and insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and cause high blood sugar levels. When you get enough sleep, your body can produce more insulin, lowering blood sugar levels and helping protect against diabetes.
One of the first tips to help prevent it is to stay hydrated. The kidneys play an important role in regulating glucose metabolism, and water consumption help with their function. When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t function as well because it’s unable to process blood sugar properly. Drinking eight glasses of water daily is important for overall health, but it’s especially beneficial for diabetics.
Quit Smoking and Alcohol
In the fight against diabetes, smoking and alcohol are two of the biggest enemies you can face.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol consumption is a risk factor for the condition. The more you drink, the higher your risk.
In addition, smoking increases your risk for type 2 diabetes as well as other health problems. It damages blood vessels, reduces circulation, and damages organs like your liver and heart. This damage can lead to high blood pressure and increased levels of bad cholesterol in your body.
Discuss Your Risks with Your Doctor
If you have a family history of diabetes, you may be at risk for developing the disease. Your doctor can help you determine whether you are at risk and how to prevent it. The best way to protect yourself against it is to consult your doctor to discuss your risks and get regular checkups to protect yourself against diabetes.
Diabetes is a common condition, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself. LLH Hospital, Abu Dhabi is a leading diabetes care and treatment provider in the UAE. Our board-certified physicians are highly trained and experienced in the field, and we offer a full range of services for patients with diabetes. Our services include:
- Diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, including insulin pumps
- Chronic disease management
- Complications management and prevention
We also offer a comprehensive education program to help you learn how to manage the disease.