Diabetes

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10 Ways to Sidestep Diabetes

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#6: Switch to Whole Grain

Obviously starchy white carbs are tempting treats, but ditching the Wonder bread for a whole grain one has many health benefits, including possible prevention of diabetes. Fiber, which is bountiful in whole grains, helps lower blood pressure and balance cholesterol. In a recent study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating two or more servings of brown (whole grain) rice every week was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. On the flip side, eating five or more servings of white rice per week was associated with an increased risk for the disease. Other whole grain options include oatmeal, whole grain pasta and fiber-rich cereals.

#7: Maintain Quality Sleep

Long sleep durations are associated with the development of diabetes. The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study aimed to examine the association between sleep duration and the development of type 2 diabetes. After studying 522 individuals ages 40 to 64, researchers found that people who averaged more than 9 hours of sleep had increased type 2 diabetes risk. Short sleep duration is also commonly associated with type 2 diabetes. Your best bet is to get about eight hours of quality sleep every night.

#8: Get a Blood Test

Millions of people with prediabetes are unaware of their condition because they don't exhibit any warning signs. A doctor can administer simple tests to determine if you are prediabetic. The fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) measures your blood glucose first thing in the morning before eating. An oral glucose tolerance test (GTT) measures your blood glucose level after fasting for 24 hours and again for 3 consecutive hours after quickly consuming a sugary drink. Both tests will determine whether your blood sugar is normal or if you have prediabetes or diabetes.

#9: Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco is harmful to just about every aspect of health, so it shouldn't come as a shock that it can raise your risk of developing diabetes. A study from a 2004 edition of Diabetes Care done on behalf of the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association found that men and women who smoked two packs a day had a 45 percent and 74 percent greater incidence of diabetes, respectively. Luckily, quitting smoking will reduce these rates to that of non-smokers after 5 years for women and 10 years for men.

#10: Know if You Are at Risk

There are many well-established risk factors for type 2 diabetes. If you fall under some of these categories, consider adopting a healthier lifestyle or getting tested for diabetes.

  • Overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater)
  • Age 45 or older
  • Have or had gestational diabetes
  • Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander race or ethnicity
  • Get little exercise or physical activity (sedentary lifestyle)
  • Have high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Have been diagnosed with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome
  • Have polycisticovarian syndrome (PCOS) 
  • You smoke

 

Eirish Sison is a health writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Published: May 2, 2011

 

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