Thoughts on Better Aging

Protect Yourself from Diabetes

July 16th, 2018

Simple lifestyle changes can protect you from a deadly disease

Did you know that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US? Diabetes affects 18 million Americans, with 57 million more individuals considered pre-diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes and related complications.

When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t produce and/or use insulin properly. Insulin is needed to get the glucose your body needs for fuel from your bloodstream to individual cells. When insulin is not produced, or when cells ignore signals from insulin, you end up with a buildup of glucose in your bloodstream. This causes the complications associated with diabetes.

Sometimes called the “slow subtle killer,” diabetes can creep up on you and progress for years without causing much pain. It will rob you of your quality of life so slowly you may not even realize what is happening until it is too late. Some of the initial symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores

As the disease progresses, it can lead to complications including increased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Blindness
  • Kidney damage
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Foot damage
  • High blood pressure

How to Protect Your Health

Type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease—can develop at any age. Fortunately, it is preventable and it is never too late to make positive changes in your life that will help your body produce and use insulin more effectively. The most important steps to take are:

Exercise: According to research from the University of Missouri Columbia, as little as 15 minutes of exercise per day can help prevent and fight type 2 diabetes. You can start with brisk walking (100 steps per minute) and incorporate strength training and stretching as well.

Eat Right: Since your diet is the source of the glucose cells use for energy, the foods you eat obviously have a big impact on your blood sugar control. Your diet can also affect diabetes risk factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, and obesity. Cut back on the amount of sugar and refined flour you eat, replacing these foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Be sure you are getting plenty of fiber.

Balance Your Hormones: Your hormones can and do affect blood sugar control. Declining estrogen at menopause leaves women more vulnerable to blood sugar spikes, and both men and women can suffer from weight gain and insomnia due to age-related hormone decline. Obesity is a well-known risk factor for diabetes, and poor sleep can make it harder for the body to manage blood sugar. Restoring a youthful balance to your hormones may just be the secret weapon you need in your fight against diabetes.

Want to Learn More?

If you would like to learn more about making diabetes prevention or management part of your anti aging plan, contact Renew Youth today.

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