Ten strategies That May Help in Preventing-diabetes 

Diet and exercise play a huge role in preventing-diabetes. Preventing-diabetes or management of diabetes is a priority because diabetes is a significant risk factor for several other serious diseases. It is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. And diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results in persistently elevated blood sugar.

Two basic types of diabetes are:

  • Type I or insulin dependent diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin and control blood sugar. Type I diabetes accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diabetes and usually occurs early in life.
  • Type II or non-insulin dependent diabetes is the result of resistance to the effects of insulin by the body, which then cannot maintain proper levels of sugar in the blood. Type II diabetes is the most prevalent form with risk factors of family history of diabetes, older age, obesity, and lack of exercise.

Diabetes is not just about elevated blood sugar. A normal fasting blood sugar level alone is not an indication that all is well. Your pancreas could be working overtime to keep the blood sugar level normal. You need a fasting insulin level as well as blood sugar level.

Diabetes is a serious disorder that involves many organs including the heart, eyes, nervous system and kidneys. Type II diabetes results in many complications because while blood glucose levels are too high, cells are starved for energy producing glucose.

This condition seriously disrupts the body’s metabolism and leads to increased free-radical generation and lipid peroxidation (Lipid peroxidation is the oxidative degradation of lipids in which free-radicals "steal" electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. Reference: wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_peroxidation).

More than ten million people in the United States over the age of 65 had diabetes in 2010. Even more startling, thirty-five percent of U.S. adults over twenty years old had pre-diabetes with 50 percent of those over 65 years old having that condition. And many people don’t know that they are pre-diabetic.

Often people with diabetes do not have symptoms until there is a medical complication. If there are symptoms they generally appear gradually. Symptoms may include fatigue, a sick feeling, frequent urination, sudden weight loss and excessive thirst. Other symptoms may include changes in vision, numbness in the feet and legs, or slow-healing sores of the skin or mouth. These symptoms could also be a sign of conditions other than diabetes. The time for preventing-diabetes is now.

Preventing-diabetes should be a priority especially if your doctor has already told you that you are pre-diabetic. It is possible to prevent Type II diabetes and in some cases reverse it. For most of us prevention requires lifestyle changes.

Weight loss, nutrition and exercise are important measures to prevent or manage diabetes. I believe that another important measure to prevent diabetes is to manage the stress in our lives. This is easy to say but tough to do especially in these trying times. Stress can and does cause many chronic diseases including heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Ten suggested strategies that may help in preventing-diabetes:

  • Trust in God. Spiritual people are better able to cope with stress and adversity because they realize that our loving God is in control of their lives.
  • Recharge your endocannabinoid system. Follow this link for a video on Dr. David Allen's explanation of the endocannabinoid system. A functional cannabinoid system may help in preventing-diabetes and is essential for general good health. 
  • Gluten free diet. Many people are gluten sensitive without realizing it. Gluten can trigger inflammation which is implicated as a cause of many chronic diseases including Diabetes. Celiac disease is an extreme example of gluten sensitivity. However, a person can be free of celiac disease and still be gluten sensitive. Ask your doctor about a gluten sensitivity test or simply quit eating gluten.
  • Manage stress. Emotional or physical stress raises blood glucose and generally upsets the metabolism of our bodies.
  • Weight loss is an important way to reduce diabetes risk and improve your general health.
  • Sleep deprivation. Studies indicate that sleeping less than seven hours per night increases the chance of becoming obese and being overweight can cause further sleep disorders, which are strongly linked to insulin resistance.
  • Physical Activity. Exercise burns calories, improves blood flow and lowers blood sugar. As little as thirty minutes per day, five days per week of aerobic exercise such as walking can delay or prevent diabetes. A large study called the Diabetes Prevention Program showed that people with pre-diabetes can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent by losing 5 to 10 percent of their body weight and getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
  • Nutrition. The fundamental problem for Type II diabetes is insulin resistance. It has been found that regular exercise and an appropriate diet can improve most cases of insulin resistance. A diet low in sugar, high in cruciferous vegetables, moderate in fruits and complex carbohydrates, with a balance of nutritional fats and supplements can significantly improve glucose control and prevent diabetic complications. Soluble fiber lowers elevated blood sugar levels. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber. Flaxseed has one of the highest levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber known for any food. An added benefit of flaxseed is a strong anti-cancer substance that inhibits breast and prostate cancer. A high fiber diet also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • Nutritional supplements to consider should include vitamins C, D and E. Recent studies show that healthy vitamin D levels are important in preventing-diabetes and helps to prevent cancer. Studies have also shown that CoQ10 lowers blood glucose levels. CoQ10 also acts to strengthen the heart. Discuss any nutritional supplementation program with your physician before starting and use quality supplements. Nutritional supplements do not cure or prevent illness and disease.  They only give the body the extra nutrition it needs to take care of itself!  A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition.
  • Enjoy your morning coffee. Some studies have shown that a daily cup or two of coffee can help fight diabetes.

The lifestyle choices useful in preventing-diabetes are basically the same as those recommended to prevent other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc. Take control of your life. Study health issues and make lifestyle choices based on what you learn. Be a participant in developing your plan of care and schedule regular visits to your family physician. My suggestion is that you read chapter eleven of Dr. Blaylock’s book, “Health and Nutrition Secrets.” The title of that chapter is “Adult-Onset Diabetes: A Growing Epidemic.” Dr. Blaylock’s book is listed on the retirement-resources page of this web site. You might also like to watch the video diabetes prevention compliments of the National Library of Medicine.

Go to retirement resources for references and suggested reading.

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