November is National Diabetes Month. Not only do we want to stay well ourselves, but we want our clients to do so also! 

You might know there are two kinds of diabetes. Those with Type 1 aren’t able to make any insulin, and it’s thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Also called juvenile diabetes, the symptoms may appear in childhood or later and develop very quickly. Only about 5% of diabetics are Type 1.

Those with Type 2 diabetes create enough insulin but don’t process it properly. Type 2 appears over a period of time, and sometimes people who have it aren’t aware of it. Risk factors include excess weight and inactivity, so you can take steps (sometimes literally!) to prevent it.

The good news is that what you need to do to prevent diabetes are the same things that will help you reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, various cancers, and even neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. So let’s start heading it off!

 

Manage your blood pressure

High blood pressure is a precursor to diabetes, as well as other diseases. There are a number of ways to manage it, including eating the right foods and exercising. 

Another helpful tool is to manage your stress levels. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, and comes with lots of other physical and mental benefits as well. Also consider adding in mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. Having an attitude of gratitude can help you de-stress also.

 

Nourish yourself

The stuff our brains are wired to love (sugar, fat and salt) are unfortunately unhealthy when eaten in large quantities or regularly a staple at the dinner table. Have your cake and eat it too, but only on special occasions.

The right diet (in the sense of eating healthy) can help you stave off a lot of chronic health conditions and keep your heart safe too. Think about adding yummy, colorful foods like fruits & vegetables instead of focusing on what you need to limit or cut out entirely.

 

Limit booze and quit smoking

Speaking of which! Too much alcohol can result in putting on weight. Not to mention increasing blood pressure and cholesterol. You can get the same heart benefits of red wine by eating grapes instead, since they’re both high in resveratrol.

Smoking provides no health benefits whatsoever, and smokers are 2x more likely to end up with diabetes compared to nonsmokers. It promotes insulin resistance, so butt out! There are a variety of ways to quit smoking and you’ll likely be able to find one that works for you.

 

Get a move on

If you’ve been reading our posts you know that sitting is bad for your health! Not only should you try to get enough moderate exercise during the week, but add as much movement as you can. Build your own sit-stand desk for working or crafting at home so you don’t spend all day on your seat.

Getting more movement into your day is great for your heart and mind, stress levels, blood pressure, etc. You can get the kids moving more too by getting outdoors with them.

 

Turn off your TV

Watching a lot of television is associated with an increased risk of diabetes – 20% higher for every two hours in front of the screen. Yikes! Go for a bike ride or walk with your kids instead. Some of you in the Midwest might be able to get out and play in the snow at this time of year. Or even spend time on your hobby.

Too much TV also increases your risk for heart disease and premature death as well. Like food that’s bad for you, some television watching is fine in moderation. 

 

Manage your weight

Most of the tips above will help you lose weight if you need to. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for preventing diabetes (and heart disease, cancer, etc.) If you are overweight, seek out a credible weight loss solution with your doctor. If you’re not overweight, keep it that way! 

 

Visit your doc

Make sure you know if you’re starting to head into type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure territory by attending your checkups. Both of these can strike without symptoms until your condition gets worse. Keep up with yearly exams and other preventative medicine efforts.

 

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