Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterized by irregularities in how the body controls sugar. This occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when the body does not respond effectively to the insulin produced. (type 2 diabetes) .Insulin is a hormone in the body used to control sugar levels.
The WHO reports that the number of people getting diabetes has been rising more rapidly in low-and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. This trend is worrying as diabetes has a myriad of complications, including an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, damage to nerves, kidney failure, and even blindness.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition whereby the pancreas produces little to no insulin. It is not preventable. Its treatment is directed at managing blood sugar levels by giving insulin that is lacking or deficient. However, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cells that take in sugar from the blood do not respond well to the insulin that facilitates this sugar to enter the body cells to produce energy. This is commonly referred to as insulin resistance, and the risk factors include obesity, especially fat around the abdomen, and sedentary lifestyles. Type 2 diabetes is preventable.
Therefore, we must take measures to prevent type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle measures are effective in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Some of the things you can do include:
Watch what you eat and drink.
Sugary snacks, red meat, and processed meats like bacon, sausages, and hot dogs, should be limited or avoided altogether. High intake of these foods contributes significantly to insulin resistance. Instead, your diet should be made up of whole grains, for example, brown rice, whole wheat, whole oats, whole grain products, nuts, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. Also, make water your favorite and main drink, as research has shown that soft drinks have large amounts of fructose hence increasing blood glucose levels to dangerous levels. Some soft drinks may also contain chemicals that contribute to insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes.
Watch your weight
A study done on Ghanaians in both urban and rural settings showed that the probability of type 2 diabetes increased with obesity. Therefore, being overweight greatly contributes to the likelihood of one getting type 2 diabetes. This is due to increased insulin resistance. It is important to ensure that one not only achieves a healthy body weight but maintains it.
The WHO recommends doing at least 30 minutes of regular exercise, moderate to high in intensity in nature, for at least five days a week. Some of these can be fast walking, running, aerobic exercises, cycling, or even swimming.
Diabetes remains a considerable threat and burden in our time, and it is paramount that we play our part as individuals to ensure its prevention.