Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes elevated blood sugar levels due to the body's inability to metabolize glucose properly. Long-term complications of type 2 diabetes include nerve, kidney, eye and foot damage, as well as heart and blood vessel disease. Uncontrolled and untreated diabetes can be fatal. Often, lifestyle and diet modifications are enough to control type 2 diabetes adequately.
Diet changes and proper nutrition are two of the most important factors in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is an adult-onset condition that can be prevented in some cases by eating healthy and avoiding obesity. However, type 2 diabetes is increasingly found in children who are overweight and don't get enough exercise. Stick to a consistent meal plan and try to eat at the same times every day so that your body gets used to metabolizing food and glucose on a regular schedule. Help keep your blood sugar levels consistent by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Avoid foods that are high in fat and limit saturated fat intake as much as possible. The American Diabetic Association recommends consuming 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day to prevent diabetes and help diabetics control blood sugar levels. Limit your intake of salt and sugar and drink plenty of water to stay healthy.
Exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes by burning excess calories to keep weight within a healthy range. Exercise functions like insulin by helping to lower blood sugar levels and regular physical activity helps the body use the insulin it produces more efficiently.Wear comfortable footwear while exercising to avoid foot injuries. Keep hydrated before, during and after physical activity. Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes at a time most days of the week and aim for a moderate intensity unless directed by your doctor to do otherwise. Diabetics who are on insulin should try to exercise at the same time each day, eat a small snack before exercising and monitor their blood sugar before, during and after exercising.
Tobacco and Alcohol
According to Dr. David K. McCulloch, UpToDate.com medical writer, over 25 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are smokers. Quitting smoking will improve your health and lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, high LDL cholesterol levels, nerve damage and kidney disease. Smokers have worse circulation to their limbs. Quitting smoking can also help you avoid foot problems, including amputation. Dr. McCulloch states that a moderate amount of alcohol each day with food does not significantly affect blood sugar levels. Avoid drinking more than one serving a day for women and two servings a day for men. Be careful of mixers, such as juices and cola, as these can raise blood sugar levels.