Type 2 Diabetes seems to be everywhere lately. We see commercials for it on TV, ads in social media, and our friends and relatives may even have it, too. What exactly is type 2 diabetes? Why is type 2 diabetes becoming so commonplace in the United States? Is there anything that we can do in our own homes and lives to try to prevent diabetes from becoming part of our own lives?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease where you have too much glucose in your blood. It occurs when your body does not make enough insulin. Insulin is a necessary hormone in the body because it allows the glucose in your blood to enter your cells, where it acts as food and fuel. If the glucose simply remains in the blood, then bodily functions and processes are negatively affected.
Type 2 diabetes is becoming more commonplace in the United States because of the typical American’s lifestyle. Americans have poor eating habits. We eat unhealthy foods that do not fuel our bodies well, and we eat those foods in large portions. We eat lots of fast food and there are always options to “super size” our meals, when the portions are already larger than we need. In addition to making poor food choices and lack of portion control, we do not get enough exercise. We watch a lot of television instead of getting fresh air and physical activity. People may dread exercise as a boring thing to do, or think that it is too hard, but is can be as simple as taking a walk through your neighborhood each evening. People may think that exercise is a big time commitment but it does not have to be, and the benefits to your health are excellent.
So what can be done to prevent type 2 diabetes from becoming a part of our lives? You must make an investment into your future and your good health. You can do this by first and foremost, getting regular exercise. If you are sedentary, start small by walking for 30 minutes a few days a week, and over time, work up to daily walks, each day per week. Also, make changes to your diet. Avoid processed and prepackaged foods as well as fast food because they are made for convenience, not for nutrition. Make meals fresh at home, and use leans meats when you eat meat. Try eating a vegetarian meal once a week. It can be a fun, nutritious change.
A lot of ways that prevent type 2 diabetes from becoming part of your life deal with the foods we eat. In addition to the ways listed above, you can make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Reduce your intake of salt. Salt and sugar are added to many foods without us knowing and cutting back on those added items does nothing but help your body. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, when you sit down to a meal, make sure that your plate has a balance of the food groups on it, and you’re not just eating one or two food groups at a time.
Type 2 diabetes is becoming very common but you can do things to help prevent it from becoming a part of your life. If you need further guidance, see your healthcare professional. They can give you ideas on other easy exercises to ease into, as well as nutritional information that is specific to your own body and lifestyle. Your good health is in your hands!