Lifestyle Changes to Fight Diabetes After 40

Diabetes is a chronic disease that involves high blood sugar and insulin resistance, and it affects millions of people worldwide. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney complications, nerve damage, and other issues. 

As you age, you become more susceptible to diabetes — a fixed risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being 45 or older. 

However, if you take action, you can prevent the onset of diabetes. And if you already have diabetes, it’s still worth implementing some healthy lifestyle changes to help manage it.

From Dr. Shubi Shahida, here are 5 lifestyle changes you can make to fight diabetes after 40. 

1. Cut refined sugar and carbs out of your diet

Consuming too much sugar or refined carbs is one way to fast-track the development of diabetes. When you eat these foods, your body breaks them down very quickly into sugar, which your bloodstream then absorbs. 

When your blood absorbs sugar, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that takes sugar out of your blood and into your body’s other cells. When this happens too often, you can become insulin resistant, which means sugar remains in your blood despite insulin’s efforts to remove it. 

After a while, this leads to prediabetes and then type 2 diabetes. Reducing your intake of refined sugar and carbs can drastically reduce your risk of diabetes.

2. Implement a regular exercise routine

Excess body weight and body fat can increase your risk of developing diabetes, and can increase complications if you already have diabetes. 

One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to implement a regular exercise routine. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your body responds to exercise, especially if you were previously sedentary. And it doesn’t have to be super intense — just walking for 30 minutes a day can help tremendously.

On top of weight loss, exercise also improves your insulin sensitivity, which may help prevent the development of diabetes. 

3. Drink water more than any other beverage

We know — water is so boring. But it seriously pays to drink up. 

Sticking to plain water helps you avoid the sugary beverages linked to diabetes and can even help you lose more weight than diet drinks. Plus, by staying hydrated, you’ll feel more full and be less tempted to snack on sugary snacks. 

4. Eat more fiber

Adding fiber to your meals and snacks throughout the day can help prevent spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels, which could reduce your risk of getting diabetes. Research shows that fiber keeps blood sugar and insulin stable in healthy, overweight, and prediabetic people.

Fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that slows down digestion, which results in a more gradual rise in blood sugar after eating (as opposed to the sharp spikes that occur after eating simple carbohydrates). 

Insoluble fiber isn’t digestible by humans, but it has still been linked to reduced blood sugar levels and a decreased risk of diabetes.

5. Keep tabs on your numbers

One of the most critical things you can do as you get older is to keep careful watch over the numbers that indicate diabetes. Those numbers include your A1C, blood glucose, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and microalbumin levels. Dr. Shahida will check all of these for you during your regular appointments, but you can also use a variety of at-home methods to test many of these numbers regularly. 

If you need more help with lifestyle changes or managing your blood sugar, Dr. Shahida is happy to walk you through diabetes-management guidelines and give you all the information you need to stay healthy. 

To learn more, call Dr. Shahida today or book an appointment online at our Smithfield, North Carolina location.

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