Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions in the United States. According to the CDC, approximately 1 out of every 10 Americans has some form of diabetes, and nearly a quarter of those with diabetes don’t know that they have it. And there’s more.
The CDC also found that over 96 million American adults (that’s 1 in 3 people) have prediabetes, making this health condition one of the most prevalent problems in the states.
Knowing how common diabetes is will likely make you wonder, “What can I do to avoid diabetes?” or “How can I treat diabetes in its early stages?” Below we’ll discuss whether or not early diabetes treatments are possible and some of the best things that you can do to manage, treat, and even reverse diabetes to limit its impact on your quality of life.
What is the difference? The many types of diabetes
While many people believe that weight is the main or only contribution to developing diabetes, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While weight does play a significant role in developing certain types of diabetes or exacerbating current diabetic symptoms and other health issues, it isn’t the only factor. Different types of diabetes have different causes.
- Type 1 — This type of diabetes occurs when your body can’t make insulin, perhaps due to inherited genes or as the result of a virus or other illness.
- Type 2 — This type of diabetes occurs when your body can make insulin but either doesn’t make enough or can’t use what it creates. This type is often the result of certain lifestyle choices.
- Gestational — This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy.
- Prediabetes — This type of diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated but not to the point where the patient is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Not all types of diabetes can be prevented. Type 1 diabetes, for example, is a chronic condition that will require lifelong care and treatment. Other types of diabetes, such as prediabetes and some cases of type 2 diabetes, can be prevented or even reversed with the proper care.
How to avoid diabetes: 7 steps to take to prevent or reverse prediabetes
Want to know how to avoid diabetes in the early stages? Some of the best ways to prevent diabetes and manage diabetic pain and diabetes symptoms are by making healthy lifestyle choices.
While there is no miracle cure or single action that you can do to completely prevent diabetes, there are a variety of lifestyle choices you can make that can slow the progression of diabetes. If implemented quickly enough, these healthy habits may even reverse prediabetes and stop type 2 diabetes from developing.
Best of all, these common sense lifestyle habits are, for the most part, simple to implement and effective not only for treating and managing diabetes but for treating a variety of other health conditions as well.
1. Drink more water
Sugary beverages, teas, hot drinks, and other non-water choices can add plenty of calories and carbs to your diet and cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Water is a healthy alternative that can replace high-sugar beverage options. It can also help dilute glucose in the blood, prevent dehydration, and keep your body functioning optimally.
The average person (diabetic or not) should drink approximately 2 liters of water each day, though this can fluctuate depending on gender, activity level, and other factors.
For those who have trouble drinking plain water, there are plenty of ways to make this step more appealing. For example, you can try adding fresh fruit, herbs, or other natural flavorings to your water. You can also substitute sugar-free teas, unsweetened sparkling waters, and low-fat milk for part of your water intake throughout the day.
2. Adopt a healthy diet
You are what you eat; putting effort into maintaining a healthy diet can make a significant difference in your diabetes diagnosis. Foods that are high in carbs, salt, and sugar can cause insulin levels to skyrocket and crash, which can contribute to and exacerbate diabetes.
It’s important to limit refined foods, simple carbs, fatty and processed meats, and other not-so-great options. However, that doesn’t mean that your meals have to be boring; you can still enjoy a variety of tasty and healthy foods. Opt for whole grains, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.
3. Be more active
In addition to eating healthy, staying active is one of the best things that you can do to manage or prevent diabetes. Not only will staying active help you keep your weight under control, but it also helps regulate glucose levels and reduces insulin resistance.
Adults should aim for approximately 150 minutes of moderate activity each week or 30 minutes of exercise per day. This doesn’t mean that you need to start running marathons or join a gym; brisk walking, riding a bike, doing light housework, or participating in water aerobics for just half an hour a day will offer wonderful benefits.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking is bad for your health, especially if you are diabetic. This is because smoking can increase insulin resistance and negatively impact blood sugar levels in addition to putting you at risk for health problems such as heart disease, circulation issues, peripheral neuropathy, and more.
People who smoke are nearly twice as likely to eventually develop type 2 diabetes, and the more often you smoke, the greater your risk. If you do smoke, seek out resources to help you quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
5. Reduce portion sizes
Even if you’re eating the best foods, consuming too much at one time can be detrimental to your health. Huge portion sizes can lead to increased blood sugar levels, weight gain, and may interfere with any medications you’re taking.
Generally, you should devote approximately half of your plate to non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate to lean proteins, and a quarter to carbs. Remember that portion sizes and serving sizes aren’t the same — learn to estimate portion sizes based on the size of your hand.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can greatly increase your risk of developing diabetes. For overweight or obese prediabetics and diabetics, losing even a small amount of weight can make a huge difference to your health — even just a 5% to 7% reduction in weight can make a huge difference.
Once you’ve reached a healthy weight, you can maintain it through the combination of a healthy diet, daily exercise, and doctor-prescribed medications.
7. Get tested yearly
While people with type 1 diabetes and many people with type 2 diabetes need to test their blood glucose levels daily, you may not need to do it quite as often. However, if you are prediabetic, it’s important to get tested annually to ensure that you’re making progress with your condition. Remember, early identification and management are key to preventing diabetes and can also help stop or reverse type 2 diabetes.
Protect your health and feet with Viasox
How do I avoid diabetes? The truth is that not all cases of diabetes can be avoided. Type 1 diabetes and many type 2 diabetes cases are lifelong and cannot be reversed. However, if you are pre-diabetic, have gestational diabetes, or are in the early stages of type 2 diabetes, the above tips may help you learn how to avoid diabetes in the early stages.
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