The effects of COVID-19 have crippled the world in many aspects, both on a healthcare level and economic level. Given the relevantly new creation of the virus, it should come as no surprise that further details seem to emerge daily on the urgency to suppress this virus.
This new pandemic has shifted the gears of many people around the world and governments to respond urgently to the necessary precautionary measures needed to control the spread of the Coronavirus.
Given its high rate of contagious spread, the higher death rate (compared to the season flu) and the heavy burden placed on our healthcare system, extreme measures to slow and diminish the spread is a reasonable response.
The lessons we should be taking from COVID-19, once the pandemic is over, is to re-prioritize our health with diseases that may not be contagious, but still place a great deal of suffering and life-long lowered quality of life.
I'm referring to the all familiar and most massive epidemic we have been facing in human history, diabetes.
The continuous rise of type 2 diabetes is a global health issue that should be focused on and met with the same urgency as other epidemics we have been facing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million adults in the United States are living with diabetes or prediabetes.
84.1 million Americans have prediabetes, which can develop into type 2 diabetes within five years if left untreated.
One of the most significant myths about type 2 diabetes is that diabetes mellitus is due to genetics, which is not the case. To clarify, your DNA may influence your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which means that hereditary factors increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, but is not necessarily the cause of it.
Let's start with what prediabetes is and the risk factors associated with it.
What Is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes has the potential to develop into type 22 diabetes; however, there is a great opportunity to manage your health and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetic individuals have blood sugar levels that are higher than the average; however, it is not high enough to be classified as a diagnosis for type 2 diabetes. Every effort is preventing type 2 diabetes can make a considerable positive impact on your health.
The most straightforward steps can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, which includes:
- Weight loss: Aim for losing 5-10% of your overall body weight
- Consistent exercise: You ideal goal should be 150 minutes per week, but start with a 10-minute walk every other day and work your way up if you have not been physically active
- Healthy diet: Your diet & nutrients play one of the most significant factors when it comes to your battle against any disease; however for diabetes, in particular, aim for a healthy balance.
Source: Canada’s Food Guide
Preventing & Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes focuses on insulin, which is a hormone that aids in controlling the level of sugar or glucose in your blood, and occurs when your body cannot produce enough insulin, or it cannot make proper use of the insulin it does produce.
Who Is At Higher Risk?
Although your weight and diet generally contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, there are other risk factors to consider. Here are the following risk factors to take into consideration:
Race: Black, Hispanic, Asian-American and American Indian's are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, although the reasons why is still unclear.
Weight: Weight is the highest risk factor, which means being overweight can lead to a highly likely outcome of developing type 2 diabetes.
Not Active: Your activity level is directly correlated with your weight, which, in turn, is related to the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to controlling your weight, being more active transforms glucose into energy, which helps aid your cells to become more sensitive to insulin.
Age: Individuals aged 45 and older are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may primarily be due to the lack of physical activity, which leads to weight gain and the loss of muscle mass. One of the most alarming rates to note, however, are the number of younger individuals, which range from children to younger adults who are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
If we made ourselves more aware of the significantly reduced quality of life that type 2 diabetes can produce, our views on urgency would substantially change. Shortening the lifespan while becoming dependent on medication is not a life-managing plan anyone would want. Focusing on the prevention and promoting weight loss while eating a proper diet is not a new concept and is often cited as the best way to combat or prevent numerous health problems, including coronary heart disease, some forms of cancer, stroke and more.
The epidemic we are facing should be treated as one, with on-going motivation, education and promotion of the everyday life changes we can make to lower the risks of developing diabetes.
If you're looking for more information about the prevention or management of type 2 diabetes, you can sign up for the full Type 2 Diabetes course today, for free, by clicking here.
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193