More than 100 million adults in the United States are currently living with diabetes or prediabetes. While not as dangerous as diabetes, prediabetes is likely to turn into type 2 diabetes within five years.
New research published in Diabetologia, The Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, reveals that controlling just seven risk factors can help protect us against diabetes.
Dr. Joshua Joseph, an endocrinologist and professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, led a team of colleagues in research designed to determine the effect of seven lifestyle changes, called “Life’s Simple Seven,” that had been recommended by the American Heart Association as protective against cardiovascular disease.
The researchers evaluated nearly 8000 individuals in order assess the importance of these seven risk factors in relation to the development of diabetes. Their research revealed that people who maintained at least four of the seven risk factors in an ideal range were 70% less likely to develop diabetes in the following 10 years.
The seven risk factors are:
1. Blood glucose
your healthcare provider will normally check your blood glucose levels whenever they take blood. Be sure those levels stay low! Controlling blood sugar is not only an issue for diabetes, it is also important for avoiding heart disease.
Being overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing type II diabetes.
It is not only important to maintain a healthy weight you should also ensure that your diet is composed of foods that are high in nutritional value. Refined grains and simple carbohydrates, such as potatoes, are implicated in insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. So it’s not just about the number of calories a food contains; the food itself needs to be healthy.
The Glycemic Index is a useful guide for choosing foods that will help you avoid diabetes. The lower the glycemic index number, the less effect the food has on your blood sugar. Click here for a comprehensive list of foods and their glycemic index numbers, as well as more information on a low glycemic diet
cholesterol is not just an issue for your heart — high cholesterol is also associated with diabetes. Overall cholesterol levels should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), with LDL levels below 100 mg/dL and HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL.
5. Blood pressure
High blood pressure is not just associated with heart disease, it is a risk factor for diabetes as well. Diseases related to high blood pressure are the leading cause of death in the United States.
6. Physical activity
Moderate exercise — as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking a day — keeps the body in shape, and aids in weight control.
Smoking is implicated in a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes . Smoking cessation should be the first health goal of any smoker.
The team’s research revealed that the impact of following these seven lifestyle factors was most evident in people who had not yet developed prediabetes. This accords well with the famous expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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