Certain lifestyle changes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, and contribute to better management of diabetes. Such lifestyle changes may involve modifications in many habits and inculcating better dietary practices, walking and exercise, and changes in the way one lives, spends one's time, and manages one's working, social, and family life.
Stress management is also an important aspect of lifestyle changes which is more relevant to persons with diabetes.
Lifestyle changes have always been recognized as having a beneficial effect in the prevention, control, and management of diabetes. However, recent studies have indicated that even very minor changes have remarkable effect. Prof. Jaakko Tuomilehto (Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland} has pointed out this in these words , "The changes that were required to prevent diabetes were not drastic - they were just modest. If a person managed to change both diet and exercise, reduce calorie intake and change quality of diet, then the effect was the best. But whatever single thing they could do also helped."
It's not too late!Edit
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) recognizes that "It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes", and informs: "a recent study involving Americans from all over the country, showed that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented by losing a small amount of weight by following a low-fat, low-calorie meal plan and getting 30 minutes of physical activity five times per week. These lifestyle interventions worked particularly well in people aged 60 and older, reducing the development of diabetes by 71 percent." "It’s Not Too Late" program is aimed at encourageing adults over 60 that "modest lifestyle changes can yield big rewards in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes."
In the context of diabetes, lifestyle changes encompasses several aspects including change in food habits, leading an active life, exercise and weight control, and better management of diabetes. Introduction of these lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
Being active is a major step towards lifestyle changes. According to the American Diabetes Association, "being active is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. It offers up many health benefits. This is true for people of all ages and especially true for people with or at risk for pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes." Some of the major benefits of being active include:
- Physical activities burn calories and results into weight loss. By remaining physically active, the weight may be maintained at proper levels.
- Physical activities improves the management of blood sugar - the body becomes more sensitive to insulin and extra calories are used. Both these factors result into lowering of blood sugar.
- Physical activities can lower the blood sugar level and wight - the effect being lowering of the requirement of insulin and reduction in the dose of any medicine for treatment of diabetes.
- Physical activities lower or significantly reduces the risk of other health problems. For instance, risk of heart disease and stroke get reduces. Lower risk for other health problems like a heart attack or stroke, some cancers, and bone loss.
- Physical activities result into lowering of blood pressure which is beneficial to the heart.
- Physical activities result into increase in the good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease in the bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. These are beneficial for the heart.
- Weight bearing activities and strength-training activities result into stronger bones and muscles. Build stronger bones and muscles.
- Increases flexibility and movement becomes easier.
- Physical activities lowers the stress.
- Sleeping cycles become better with physical activities, and quality of sleep improves resulting into a fresher day.
Changes in the food habits are also an important step of lifestyle changes. Management of diabetes revolves largely around the management of blood sugar level within the acceptable normal ranges, and food habits play a crucial role in this - foods laden with too much calories increase the blood sugar, and foods deprived of essential nutrients may result into other complications for a person with diabetes.
Stressful events are a reality of life and they can never be eliminated completely. As such stress management is necessary for leading a happy and healthy life. It is also leads to better management of diabetes. The strategies to manage stress include exercise and relaxation techniques, healthy nutritional food choices, social supports, and in severe cases, consultations with professional psychotherapists.
- Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar - a page from the site of Mayo Clinic
- What Makes A Healthy Lifestyle