World Diabetes Day: What you can do to reduce your risk of diabetes

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World Diabetes Day is observed around the world on 14th November. The objective of this day is to spread the awareness about increasing number of people being affected by diabetes. This day emphasises the need to have proper education on the risk factors of diabetes along with its prevention and treatment. World Diabetes Day is also celebrated as the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin and used it on humans for the first time.

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease which is characterised by high blood sugar which can cause serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves over time. Studies say that lethargic lifestyle, obesity, lack of exercise, poor eating habits and smoking all can increase the risk of diabetes. However, these lifestyle and behavioural factors can be controlled.

Maintain a healthy weight: Excess body weight is the top most reason behind type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases the chances of getting diabetes manifold. You are at 20-40% increased risk of getting diabetes if your BMI is greater than 25 when compared to someone with a healthy weight.

Get moving: Regular exercise improves your muscles’ ability to use insulin and absorb glucose; hence, you are at lesser risk of diabetes. Remember, brisk walking for 30 minutes every day is all you need to cut the risk.

Take your eyes off the television: According to some studies, continuous watching television increases your risk. Every two hours you spend watching TV instead of getting into physical activities increases your chance of getting diabetes by 20%. Not only diabetes, your risk of cardiovascular diseases also increases.

Avoid artificial sweeteners: Avoid sugary beverages, aerated drinks, concentrated fruit juices and processed foods. They are linked with an increase in a particularly malicious type of body fat that has been associated with diabetes.

Choose healthy fats: Good sources of fats include avocados, olives, almonds, natural peanut butter, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, and sesame oil. Dietary sources of saturated fats include butter, cheese, milk, meat, salmon, and egg yolks.

Avoid trans fats: Trans unsaturated fats have been linked with the development of many diseases and diabetes is one of them. They are mainly produced industrially and mainly used in packaged foods.

No smoking: Smokers are approximately 50% more chances of developing diabetes when compared to non-smokers. It’s best to kick the habit right away.

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