Millions of people around the world struggle with diabetes. Their bodies become insulin resistant over time. This disease can be treated effectively with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications, but an early diagnosis is the key to effective long-term management. Treating diabetes early; before seeing complications, can help individuals stop the progression and improve their long-term quality of life.
Although medications may be needed for diabetes management at some point, there are lifestyle changes that everyone can do to try and improve the outcome of diabetes at any stage. These key strategies are effective and can be tailored to meet each person’s lifestyle.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a key step to preventing or treating diabetes without medications. For anyone who is overweight or obese, even a small amount of weight loss is effective. Improvements in diabetes will occur with just 5-10% weight loss which is the equivalent of a 200-lb individual losing 10-20 pounds. A healthy weight will lower insulin resistance in prediabetes and type two diabetes.
A healthy balanced diet consists of fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and unsaturated fats. The dietary recommendations also include limiting or avoiding high fat and high sugar foods such as fried foods, desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Additionally, each person’s diet should be at their appropriate calorie level for weight maintenance or weight loss as needed. While there are resources available from a variety of sources, it is recommended that one meet with a diabetes educator or a registered dietitian. These professionals can help create a balanced meal plan to control diabetes.
Physical activity, like weight loss, helps to improve insulin sensitivity along with providing multiple other benefits. For those that may not have an exercise program, working with a personal trainer is a good idea to get started. Be sure to consult with a doctor before beginning any type of strenuous exercise, especially with any heart or lung conditions. It’s recommended to exercise for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. Work up to this level if needed and plan regular physical activity into your daily routine.
This advice may not apply to each person, but smoking increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes and having increased complications due to diabetes. Quitting smoking is one of the best choices that a person can make for their health. Join a support group or use smoking aids as needed to meet this goal.
Although not every person will need to take medication in order to control their diabetes, doctors sometimes recommend taking prescription medications. These medications works in different ways, for example by preventing the liver from making glucose or sugar. For anyone who has the early signs of diabetes and needs to lower their blood glucose levels, some medications may be beneficial. Consult your doctor for all information concerning prescription medications.
Since diabetes can be influenced by a variety of factors including genetics, many people will develop diabetes throughout their lifetime. However, using these recommendations to treat diabetes early can potentially be both safe and effective methods to prevent the progression of diabetes.
*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.