How to Prevent Diabetes Mellitus
It is important to be knowledgeable about the disease process in order to understand how to prevent diabetes. Diabetes is a disorder that affects the way food is digested and used for energy. Food is broken down into a form of sugar, called glucose. Glucose is then used by cells for growth and energy. However, insulin must be present in order for the glucose to reach the cells.
Individuals with diabetes are unable to utilize the glucose because of decreased or absent insulin production by the pancreas, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that the cells do not properly use insulin. Due to the glucose not being utilized by the cells, it builds up in the blood stream.
Diabetes is diagnosed in one of three ways:
* Type 1, or juvenile diabetes
* Type 2, or adult onset diabetes
* Gestational diabetes.
Type 1 most often affects people below the age of 40, but can occur at anytime. It is considered an auto-immune disease. This means the immune system is attacking the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for insulin production. The cause is not fully understood and, therefore, it is not preventable.
Gestational diabetes, also called carbohydrate intolerance, is diagnosed at some point during pregnancy. It usually resolves after birth, but the mother is at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in her life.
Type 2 is the most common, and usually affects people over the age of 45. It is characterized by insulin deficiency and insulin resistance. It is the only form that can be preventable.
Prevention starts with awareness of the risk factors which include: a family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, excess body weight, and if you are over 45 years of age.
Some ways you can reduce your risk of developing this condition are eating healthy, exercise, and weight loss if you are overweight.
Healthy eating consists of eating low fat and low calorie foods. Avoid having a lot of animal products in your diet, and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Incorporate at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity into your daily routine. If you are overweight, work on shedding those excess pounds. Healthy lifestyle choices and awareness are essential to prevention of diabetes.