Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease where the body struggles with insulin resistance. This means the body’s cells are resistant to the insulin your pancreas is secreting and as a result, sugar (glucose) is not able to move into your cells for energy. Therefore, your blood sugar levels stay elevated. If type 2 diabetes is left untreated, complications may result. These complications include heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and eye damage to name a few.
Like any other disease, there are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. These describe the factors that affect your risk of disease and related complications; some you can control and others you cannot.
Non-modifiable risk factors:
â— Family history
â— Socioeconomic status
Modifiable risk factors:
â— Diet and nutrition
â— Physical activity
â— Poorly controlled blood glucose levels
â— High blood pressure
â— High cholesterol levels
â— Cigarette smoking
Lifestyle choices have a big influence on type 2 diabetes and its complications. You can come that much closer to health with every bite you eat or every step you take! Below are 5 ways to lower your risk of complications from diabetes.
5 Ways to Decrease Your Risk of Diabetes Complications:
1. Balance your plate with nutritious foods and learn how much carbohydrate your body can process at a meal. There is no one diabetes meal plan. It’s very important that your diet be individualized to you.
2. Increase your physical activity. Start small and build up to your goal. Being physically active helps to decease insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity so your cell doors open and accept the sugar.
3. Take medications as prescribed. Set reminders on your phone to help you remember to take your medications at the prescribed time.
4. Stop smoking. If you smoke, speak with your physician about the best way to stop.
5. Test your blood glucose. Self-monitoring of your blood glucose allows you to see what is working and what isn’t working in your diabetes care plan. It gives you data so you can make adjustments along with your diabetes care team.
6. Meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who is also a certified diabetes educator (C.D.E.) to help you learn about self-management of your diabetes.
- A RDN who is also an expert in diabetes care and education will give you the support you need to take charge of your diabetes.
You can live a long healthy life with diabetes. You have the power within you to make the lifestyle changes that will lower your risk of complications.