Over 23 million people in the United States are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and, according to the American Diabetes Association, some 7 million more may be unaware that they have the disease. The majority of the risk factors for developing diabetes are lifestyle-related. In other words, people are making a lot of bad choices and it is affecting their health. Moreover, the destructive effects of this condition are not limited to just one’s personal health. With almost 250 billion dollars per year being spent on the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes (much of which is paid for by either the insurance industry or the taxpayer), this disease is now having a deleterious effect on health care in this country and the American economy.
Because the onset and progress of diabetes is gradual, it is often misconstrued as a nuisance condition that is easily controlled with medication. Many consider it an inevitable effect of aging. In fact, Type 2 diabetes is entirely preventable and can be a debilitating and deadly disease. The following is a list of complications of diabetes. Serious consideration of these complications should encourage you to make the lifestyle choices that can help prevent diabetes from becoming part of your life:
- Heart Disease and Stroke – Diabetics have a 2 to 4 times greater risk of stroke or heart disease related death.
- Blindness – Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness for adults 20-74 years old.
- Kidney Disease – Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
- Neuropathy – 60-70% of diabetics have nervous system damage.
- Amputation – 60% of non-traumatic amputations are due to diabetes.
Having listed the serious complications and consequences of Type 2 diabetes, the following plan details the lifestyle changes that can help to prevent this problem from ever occurring.
- Step 1: Increase physical activity. In other words, exercise regularly. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of vigorous exercise 5 days per week. For optimum results, choose a high-intensity exercise that incorporates aerobic and strength training components. Most people at high-risk for diabetes are probably deconditioned and therefore should consult a fitness professional as well as their personal physician before beginning a new exercise program.
- Step 2: Clean up your diet. Eliminate or minimize fast foods and processed pre-prepared foods. Eat primarily fresh whole foods cooked at home. Make sure your meals include plenty of fruits and vegetables and good sources of fat such as nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
- Step 3: Lose weight. If you are doing steps 1 and 2, this step will occur all by itself. Above all, avoid any kind of fad diet. Balanced whole food nutrition combined with vigorous exercise is the safest and most effective way to manage your weight.
- Step 4: Keep your liver healthy. The liver is intimately involved in blood sugar management. Diabetes and pre-diabetes are indicative of underlying liver congestion and dysfunction. Using a well-designed liver support supplement will enable your body to manage blood sugar and metabolize fat more effectively.
It is essential that those wishing to make the lifestyle changes listed above understand that healthy improvements occur gradually and drastic changes or aggressive methods can often have unwelcome results. Common sense lifestyle changes combined with the guidance of your physician and a fitness professional will allow you to safely restore your health.
Type 2 diabetes is a preventable and even reversible disease. All that is required is your commitment to change the behaviors that create the problem.