Seven ways you can beat diabetes before it gets you

It will be the seventh largest killer in the world by 2030.

 |  5-minute read |   14-11-2016
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Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in our culture today. India is among the top three countries with about 64.5 million people affected by it, till last year. And diabetes will be the seventh largest killer in the world by 2030. 

Life is not easy for people suffering from the disease. Given that one must live with it all through his/her life as there is no known cure and the medication available is planned at just keeping blood sugar levels close to normal to avoid other health complications, it's truly vital to take preventive measures at the first place.

A large proportion of diabetes cases are preventable. Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type-2 diabetes. Maintaining normal body weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk.

Diabetes is almost entirely a result of poor lifestyle, and that means through behavioural changes and good lifestyle choices made early, it can be prevented.

Here are seven tips to help reduce your risk:      

1) Lose excess body fat. Being overweight is a big risk factor. In contrast, every kilogram of weight lost reduces risk by 16 per cent. Adopt a healthier lifestyle as opposed to going on diets or starving the body. Small lifestyle choices go a long way in controlling weight and maintaining long-term health.

2) Follow a balanced diet with complex carbs. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and good sources of fat. Foods to avoid are those rich in trans fats (also called hydrogenated fat), processed food and sugar. Complex carbohydrates are rich in fibre and not highly processed like refined carbohydrates, take longer to digest and hence provide a sustained source of energy for a longer duration.

3) Drink water. Studies link sugar-sweetened beverages with obesity and diabetes. Cut them out of your diet and the risk of both conditions falls. Drink at least seven-eight glasses of water every day. Have fruits and decaffeinated herbal tea to keep yourself hydrated instead of diet coals and other diet drinks as they do more harm than good due to the excessive chemicals and sugar.

4) Move your body. Physical inactivity raises the risk of diabetes. Exercise renders cells more sensitive to insulin. Brisk walking does the trick. Low intensity exercise done consistently over a period of at least 35-40 minutes, five times a week, should be more than enough to keep your body in shape.

diabetes-embed_111416065010.jpg Life is not easy for people suffering from the disease. (Photo credit: India Today)

Over exercising on high intensity comes with its own problems, like joint issues, lower protein mass in the body as well as muscle fatigue, especially when you are overweight.  Once you drop some of the pounds, you can begin introducing strength, flexibility and endurance training. Make sure you do that with a trained and certified coach.

5) Stress less. The stress response triggers the release of several hormones that increase blood sugar. Studies show meditation improves the ability to cope with stress. Physical activity and social support also help relieve stress. Different things make different people happy, these could be participation in sports, or social events, or even going out with friends, reading, travelling or just spending time with family. Once we know what makes us happy, it will lead to a healthier mindset, reduction of stress as well as positive hormones within our body.

6) Sleep well. Chronic sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep increase the risk of diabetes and obesity. Establish regular bedtimes. Sleep is a healthy habit. Seven-eight hours is ideal but everyone is different.

Take action to make sure you get enough sleep every night and be sure to see a doctor if you think you might have a sleep problem. Not getting enough rest not only affects your body - it influences how well you work and how much you enjoy life. If you have continued problems sleeping, contact your health coach.

7) Keep appointments with your health coach. Warning signs of type 2 diabetes are less dramatic than those of type 1 diabetes. Consult a coach for preventive practices. Unfortunately, in India, we usually end up considering health coaching only when something happens to concern us.

Behaviour and lifestyle modification needs to become part of your lifestyle before the onset of problems, as opposed to looking for guidance after they have arisen! A health coach is a guide and mentor who provides ongoing support and guidance as you set goals and make sustainable behavioural changes that enhance your well-being and happiness.

A health coach analyses your body’s specific needs and helps in improving the overall quality of your life. There is no age and stage for this, but more a mindset to make the quality of life better, live fully as well as have the best health choices.

Lifestyle correction is the only cure in the prevention as well as management of diabetes. With corrective self-analysis via health coaching, the impact of diabetes can be reduced considerably. Rather it’s essential to consult a coach who would recommend a plan according to your age, body weight, height, sex, physical activity, nature of diabetes and other health complications.

It is fundamental for a diabetic patient to understand and know his/her condition well enough as this can help them lead a normal life. This is achievable through introspection, analysis and an understanding of holistic care.

So, pay that long-awaited visit to your coach. You will not only recognise any symptoms lurking around the corner, you’ll also be able to take remedial measures.

Also read: Why it's time for the world to go vegan


Preeti Rao Preeti Rao @kpreetirao

The writer is CEO and founder of Wellness Jiva.

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