Lifestyle modifications in Diabetes.

Causes of diabetes

By Dr Ali Omar

Diabetes mellitus or simply diabetes is a serious non communicable disease affecting many people around the world.

Diabetes is on the rise in Kenya and around the world. About 1% of total deaths in Kenya were due to Diabetes in 2012 according to WHO. The prevalence of diabetes in 2014 in Kenya was at 6%.

According to CDC 2011, 1 million Americans are suffering from type 1 diabetes, 26 million have type 2 and 79 Million have pre-diabetes in the United states of America.

Most if not all hospitals in Kenya have Diabetic clinic whereby patients suffering from diabetes are being treated and followed up.

Type 1 diabetes is managed with Insulin and strict diet as advised by the nutritionist or dietician, this should be clear.

Pre-Diabetes and type 2 diabetes can be managed by lifestyle modifications which would be highlighted in this article and diabetes medication and later insulin may be used.

For main article on Diabetes Mellitus read here

Lifestyle modifications include healthy diet such as LCHF diet read here .

Exercise is an important aspect of diabetes management and patients should be encouraged to exercise regularly. Patients should maintain their hydration status during exercise by drinking plenty of water. Aerobics for about 20-30 minutes for 3-4 days a week increases sensitivity of insulin. We should avoid sedentary lifestyles in order to stay healthy.

Obesity causes peripheral insulin resistance leading to diabetes, reducing weight is key in prevention, controlling and reducing the risk of the complications of diabetes.

Avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking for those who don’t, reduce the amount for those already consuming these harmful substances. For men not more than two drinks a day and women not more than one drink a day.

Reduce salt intake to no more than 6g of sodium chloride. For those suffering both diabetes and hypertension reduce to no more than 3g of sodium chloride per day.

Control blood pressure in those suffering from the disease. Hypertension and diabetes are related diseases and I call them cousin diseases since one leads to another if you are not careful according to studies a third of patients with one disease leads to the other after a period of time.

Manage stress as stress has been associated with impairing in glucose homeostasis and also in increasing weight leading to obesity which is a major cause of type 2 diabetes.

For patients on medication, compliance to the medications is important.

It is my hope we live healthy lives!


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