Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects 1 in 3 seniors in the US. Diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health complications. While diabetes can be managed with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, prevention is undeniably the best approach. By understanding the risk factors, adopting healthy habits, and making proactive choices, you can significantly reduce the chances of developing diabetes. In this article, we will explore the importance of prevention in managing diabetes.
UNDERSTANDING DIABETES AND ITS TYPES:
Diabetes occurs when the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (Type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, and in type 2, our blood sugar levels tend to rise because our bodies can’t effectively use the insulin produced. High blood sugar levels cause health complications and comorbidities, which we are going to discuss at length in our next section, “Lowering Risk Factors.”
1. Lowering Risk Factors:
Several risk factors contribute to the development of diabetes, such as being overweight or obese, having an inactive lifestyle, consuming a poor diet high in processed foods and sugary beverages, and having a family history of diabetes. It is a major health concern for seniors, as it not only affects them directly but also increases the risk of developing other illnesses or comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, which is one of the most common comorbidities.
When blood sugar levels are consistently high, it can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision loss. Seniors become more vulnerable to comorbidities if they fail to manage diabetes. However, if you want to address these risk factors and take control of your health, you need to take these simple yet effective steps and make them a part of your daily routine.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Make dietary changes (More about it the next section)
Just by sticking to these simple steps, you can make a significant difference in preventing diabetes and taking control of your wellbeing.
2. Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Choices:
Prevention is closely linked to adopting a healthy lifestyle. By making conscious choices such as eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, you can keep your blood sugar levels in check and maintain a healthy weight. Regular physical activity, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, not only helps in weight management but also improves insulin sensitivity, helping to prevent diabetes.
3. Regular Health Check-ups:
Regular health checkups are essential for early detection and intervention. Routine visits to healthcare providers can help identify any potential risk factors or pre-diabetic conditions, allowing for timely preventive measures. By monitoring blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure, you can stay informed about your health status and take the necessary steps to prevent the onset of diabetes.
4. Education and Awareness:
Prevention of diabetes also involves education and awareness. Understanding the risks, signs, and symptoms of diabetes empowers you to make informed choices. Health education programs, public campaigns, and community initiatives play a crucial role in spreading awareness about diabetes prevention and empowering people to take control of their health.
IntraCare provides a comprehensive guide that will help you understand and manage diabetes, so if you’re interested in learning more, Click here.
Prevention > Treatment:
Diabetes is a major health concern for seniors, as it not only affects them directly but also increases the risk of developing other illnesses. According to a 2019 study, nearly 75% of individuals with Type 2 Diabetes had at least one additional health condition at the time of diagnosis, and 44% had two or more. Another cross-sectional study in 2021 found that over an 8-year period, 93.7% of those living with Type 2 Diabetes had comorbidities.
Prevention not only helps you avoid the physical and emotional toll of diabetes but also leads to a healthier and more fulfilling life. By taking proactive steps towards prevention, we can collectively work towards a future where diabetes is less prevalent, and its impact is minimized. Remember, prevention is always better than treatment.