Diabetes Management & Treatment
What can you do to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes? Below are some easy steps to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please make an appointment with Dr. Ward.
You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight…with these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Your Weight and Your Risk
Being overweight raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It can also cause other problems, like high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood glucose (sugar). Losing weight can help you prevent and manage these problems. And you don’t have to lose a lot of weight. Even losing 10-15 pounds can make a big difference.
Weight loss can be hard because it means making changes in the way you eat and in your physical activity. Losing weight also takes time — and that can be frustrating. The good news is that you can lose weight and keep it off, even if you’ve never done it before.
Here’s what works for people who have lost weight and kept it off:
- They cut back on calories and fat.
- They’re physically active most days of the week.
- They eat breakfast every day.
- They keep a record of their weight, what they eat and drink, and what they do for physical activity.
- It’s much easier to lose weight when you change the way you eat and also increase your activity.
What can physical activity do for me?
- Helps keep your blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides on target
- Lowers your risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke
- Relieves stress
- Strengthens your heart, muscles and bones
- Improves your blood circulation and tones your muscles
- Keeps your body and your joints flexible
Even if you’ve never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day. You’ll get benefits, even if your activities aren’t strenuous. Once physical activity is a part of your routine, you’ll wonder how you did without it.
What kinds of physical activity are best?
A complete physical activity routine includes four kinds of activity:
- Activity—walking, using the stairs, moving around—throughout the day
- Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing
- Strength training, like lifting light weights
- Flexibility exercises, such as stretching
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a form of fat that is carried through the body in two kinds of bundles, or lipoproteins. It’s important to have healthy levels of both.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. In general, the lower your LDL the better. Reaching your LDL target is the most effective way to protect your heart and blood vessels.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, helps remove cholesterol from your body. In general, the higher your HDL the better.
What are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are another kind of blood fat that raises your chances for a heart attack or stroke if your levels are too high.
What Should My Targets Be?
Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol checked and what numbers you should aim for. For most people, here are the LDL, HDL and triglycerides numbers to aim for:
- LDL Cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dl
- HDL Cholesterol: Higher than 40 mg/dl for men and 50 mg/dl for women is good, but an HDL 50 mg/dl or higher helps everyone lower their risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dl
What Can I Do to Improve My Numbers?
It’s a good idea to have your cholesterol checked every 5 years or more often if there’s a problem. Here are some steps you can take to improve your cholesterol:
- If you smoke, quit
- Lose weight if needed
- Exercise most days of the week (brisk walking for 30 minutes/day is a good goal)
- Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet with plenty of fresh veggies, whole grains, and fruit
- Increase monounsaturated fats in your diet. Monounsaturated fats include canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil
- Your doctor may also prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicine
With watching your weight, keeping track of your cholesterol and keeping physically active, you can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.