Researchers dont have to rack their brains to figure out the whys and wherefores of the high Diabetes type 2, also known as Diabetes Mellitus, incidence that plagues us nowadays because the reason is quite obvious: our lifestyle. In general, our diet, our level of activity (none in many cases) and our size, have taken a turn for the worse and Type 2 Diabetes is the price many of us will end up paying for it.
The good news is that neither your lifestyle nor your risk of developing diabetes is cast in stone. You can stop diabetes by being physically active, following a balanced diet, and losing weight.
Metabolic syndrome or syndrome X
In addition to physical inactivity and obesity, two major risks for diabetes, we cannot forget other health risks such as high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, resistance to insulin, and low levels of HDL cholesterol , the good guy, that contribute to the alarming number of diabetes cases. All these health conditions form the Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X, a dangerous cocktail that according to many studies done during the last few years is a major risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Who is at risk for Diabetes Type 2?
To know if you are at risk for diabetes type 2 or diabetes Mellitus, check the following lines:
1. Your waist measures over 90 centimeters (35 inches) if you are a man, or 80 centimeters (32 inches) if you are a woman
2. Your blood pressure is over 120/80 mmHg
3. Your fasting blood sugar level (early in the morning, before having anything to eat) is over 100 mg/dl
4. Your LDL cholesterol level is over 100 mg/dl
5. Your HDL cholesterol is below 60 mg/dl
6. Your triglycerides level is over 150 mg/dl
If you have three or more of the above conditions, it means you have a metabolic syndrome and, as a result, a higher risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or other pathologies.
Preventing obesity is crucial
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 80 percent of the people who have Diabetes Type 2 were overweight at the time of the diagnosis. So, if you are overweight but you have not had a diabetes diagnosis, you are lucky. However, be on the alert because those extra pounds can result in a pre-diabetes type II condition before you realize it.
To know if you need to lose weight, check your Body Mass Index (BMI), an index of a persons weight in relation to height. It is determined by dividing the weight (in kilograms) by the square of the height (in meters).
BMI <18.5 = underweight BMI 18.5 to 24.9 = healthy BMI 25.0 to 29.9 = overweight BMI more than 30 = obese So, stop it! The results of the National Diabetes Education Program conducted in the United States shows that patients can stop the road to diabetes type II by introducing simple, small lifestyle changes in their lives. Dr. Joanne Gallivan, executive director of the program at the National Institutes of Health, indicates: If patients with pre-diabetes lose between 5 to 7% of their weight and they exercise for half an hour a day, five days a week, the risk for developing diabetes can decrease by 60% in 3 years. For example, if you weight 90 kilograms (198 lbs), losing weight, between 4 to 7 kilograms (9 to 15 lbs), can be quite beneficial for your health. People who participated in the study not only experimented a decrease in their level of blood glucose but they lowered their blood pressure, improved their lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides) and they end up needing less medication. The patients of the Program for the Prevention of Diabetes are now participating in another study to verify if by not gaining any more weight and exercising, they can stay away from Diabetes Type II. Irish Stovall from Washington was 66 years old and had pre-diabetes when he joined the study. She weighted 105 kilograms and spent his days watching TV. Today she weights 20 kilos (44 lbs) less and has just turned 75. I do not have diabetes because I walk 8 kilometers a day, I eat fruits and vegetables and I eat low fat meals, she says. Irish is a clear example of what a Prevention Program can accomplish. And if she could do it, so can you. Next week will look at some of the steps that will get you closer and closer to type 2 diabetes.