What To Do And Not To Do If You Have A Family History of Diabetes

What To Do And Not To Do If You Have A Family History of Diabetes

What’s inside?

  • What is Diabetes and the role of family history?
  • Things to do if you have family history of Diabetes
  • Things not to do if you have family history of Diabetes

Diabetes refers to a condition where an individual’s blood sugar or glucose becomes too high, usually due to the lack of production of the insulin hormone. Unfortunately, this is a definition that many of us must be very well aware of – family history is often a major risk factor for the disease. The greatest risk comes often for those whose parental history on both sides shows Type 2 Diabetes. While it can seem like a scary thing, and almost an inevitability, a healthy lifestyle can go very in preventing the risk of developing this disease. Here are some things you can do, and some you should avoid if you have a family history of diabetes –

What You Should Do –

  1. Know Your Family History – The first step toward’s prevention is always knowledge. While it may be a scary prospect, getting full information about your family history with respect to diabetes can help you and your doctor to develop realistic expectations, goals, and prevent nasty developments in the future. Developing a family history can also help your loved ones know their own risks, which can prevent problems in the future too.
  2. Develop the Habit of Exercising – Note the word habit. Too much random, intense exercise can actually pose a greater threat to your wellbeing[1]. However, regular, moderate levels of exercise that suit your body and lifestyle can help lower blood glucose levels and increase body sensitivity to insulin, both of which are excellent outcomes for at-risk individuals [2]
  3. Practice Stress Management – Stress affects the body in many negative ways and also directly impacts glucose levels in the body, creating cravings for food that are unhealthy for at-risk individuals. Meditation exercises such as mindfulness and Pranayam can help reduce stress and thus its contribution towards diabetes too. Easy to learn, such meditational techniques can be practiced virtually anywhere.
  4. Engage In Yoga – Yoga is an ideal mix of the mind and body, it is often recommended by medical professionals for a number of ailments, and diabetes is no exception. Yoga helps reduce stress while also increasing blood circulation, and reducing blood pressure and sugar levels.[3] Asanas that focus on the stomach, such as the shoulder stand and the bow pose, are considered especially helpful.
  5. Be an Optimistic – Interesting research [4][5] suggests that it is not only what you do, but also who you are, that plays a role. Personality traits such as optimism can boost your chances of preventing type 2 diabetes. While the relationship is complex, a host of bi-directional, interacting factors, such as stress levels, problem-solving approaches, and better lifestyle choices may be playing a role.

What To Avoid –

  1. Giving Up Hope – Many consider a family history of diabetes as an inevitable countdown, but giving up might actually be the thing that puts you most at risk. As we saw above, mere optimism can reduce your chances of diabetes, and with the right medical and social support and a healthy, natural lifestyle, you can too, mitigate your chances of the disease to a great extent.
  2. Eating Processed Food – Junk food and outdoor foot contains a lot of sugar and carbs (that break down into sugar), often in hidden forms that we may not be able to identify. While this does not mean that you give up indulgent treats completely, balancing them with healthy, homemade food can help you cut down unnecessary risk.
  3. Poor Food Timing – Alongside what you eat, when you eat matters too. Having two heavy dishes together, or keeping too much of a gap between your meals can lead to dangerous fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. A three times a day meal punctuated with two or more snack breaks can ensure healthy sugar levels throughout the day.
  4. Skipping Out On Checkups – Your medical practitioners will always be your best guides and confidants. Do not skip out on regular checkups simply because you feel okay, or because you feel that you can manage your risks with a healthy lifestyle. Doctors can help in easing your worries, provide you valuable tips, and ensure that your diabetes risk does not cost you your happiness and productivity.
  5. Let Your Weight Get To You – Obesity has a very strong link with type two diabetes, and it can upend all your other precautionary measures. Healthy weight maintenance can be an uphill task for anybody, but thankfully, many practices and lifestyle habits that promote diabetes resistance, such as yoga, exercise and eating home-made food, automatically help in weight maintenance too. Thus, it is more about your mindset – when you realize the dual benefits of all your healthy lifestyle efforts, you may be doubly motivated to maintain them.

It may seem almost unfair to be handed life that has something like the possibility of diabetes on the cards. But with the correct support and lifestyle practices, not only can you keep the disease at bay, you can in fact, build a healthier, happier life for yourself.

[1] “Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes: A Position Statement ….” https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/39/11/2065. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

[2] “The importance of exercise when you have diabetes – Harvard ….” https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-exercise-when-you-have-diabetes. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

[3] “Yoga for Diabetes: 11 Poses to Try – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/yoga-for-diabetes. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

[4] “Your personality could put you at greater risk for developing ….” 24 Jan. 2019, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190124105307.htm. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

[5] “Optimism may lower the risk of diabetes – You and Your Hormones.” 25 Jan. 2019, https://www.yourhormones.info/news/item/13236/Optimism-may-lower-risk-of-diabetes. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

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