Do you or any of your family or your friends struggle with diabetes? If so, you are not alone.
Diabetes has been known to humans since ancient times. The prevalence of it remained steady for most of history until just the past few decades.
In fact, diabetes has become one of the most pressing healthcare crises across the globe, and Canada is one of the hardest hit among developed nations.
Alarming Prevalence of Diabetes in Canada
According to the International Diabetes Federation, Canada ranks among the worst OECD countries for diabetes. With the number of Canadians with type 2 diabetes doubling since 2020, and type 1 climbing by 5% annually, scientists are struggling to understand why and what to do to stop this tsunami.
According to Diabetes Canada, more than 5.7 million Canadians currently live with diabetes (some even live dangerously with type 2 undiagnosed), and 11.7 million in total live with diabetes or prediabetes.
Prediabetes is a condition that, if left unmanaged, can develop into type 2 diabetes, however it is also a window in time to stop diabetes in its tracks.
Additionally, more than 20 Canadians die of diabetes-related complications every day.
And alarmingly, Canadians who are 20 years old today now have a 50% chance of developing diabetes, with this percentage growing to an unfathomable 80% for some indigenous populations.
All of this is pretty anxiety-producing, so what does the average Canadian do to not be counted as a statistic?
The most important thing you can do is to educate yourself and your loved ones about diabetes, adopt a nutritious diet and get up off the couch and move. Right now, and every day from now on.
While scientists do not know how to prevent Type 1, there are some key lifestyle changes you can make to minimize your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Minimizing Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
The medical community has long held that the development of Type 2 diabetes is a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. In general, the belief is that being overweight – even only slightly – along with inactivity, increases the risk of developing diabetes.
Add on to that risk factors such as sex, age, genetic factors, whether you or your mother had gestational diabetes, some diseases and medications, and you get a sense of how complex this disease is.
Some of these risk factors are out of your control, but lifestyle factors can often be within your control. So, what can you do to turn the situation around if you find that you are prediabetic?
Preventing Diabetes Through Lifestyle Changes
Quite simply, not smoking, eating properly, and keeping a healthy weight for your body has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by 90 percent. Maintaining a healthy weight is paramount but it can be discouraging to confront the long haul of trying to lose weight and keep it off.
But what if you knew that by losing just 5% to 7% of your body weight you can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%, along with working out at least 150 minutes per week?
Would you commit yourself to the necessary lifestyle changes? As many a dieter and would-be exerciser knows, this is easier said than done. Work with your doctor or nutritionist to prepare a meal and exercise plan you can stick to.
In the meantime, watch the videos below for a more in-depth explanation from Yale Medicine about how exercise and diet can be as effective as medication in controlling your blood glucose.
To start (or ramp up) your commitment to health why not treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers and make a date with yourself each day for a healthy walk, even in the winter. If it’s too snowy out, find a mall or an indoor running track and do loops to get your steps in. Bring a friend along and make it a social occasion but avoid the mall food.
Click here to take your diabetes risk test. Speak with your doctor if you think you might be pre-diabetic.
And let us know on social media or DM us – what did you do to shift your brain and change your lifestyle to lose the weight?