Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting millions of people worldwide. Diabetes is caused when the body has excess insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. There are three types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes, caused when the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas, involved in the process of making insulin, an autoimmune cause.

Type 2 diabetes has various causes – heredity and lifestyle are among the important ones. A mix of these aspects can cause insulin resistance, a situation when the body does not utilize insulin as effectively as it should. Insulin resistance is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes, which can also be hereditary.

The third type is Gestational diabetes, which is a transient condition occurring only during pregnancy.

Type 2 diabetes is now growing to epidemic proportions and is often referred to as a lifestyle disease along with blood pressure, found in people who usually consume junk food, don’t exercise and lead sedentary lifestyles. Diabetes can usually be diagnosed before it gets fully blown, a condition called pre-diabetes. Here blood sugar levels are high but not enough to be confirmed as diabetes. It is estimated that about 70% of the pre-diabetics, go on to develop type 2 diabetes, a progression that’s unfortunately not inevitable. While there are certain aspects such as genes and past lifestyle patterns that cannot be changed, there are certain steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of diabetes. If left untreated and unmanaged, diabetes can cause blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and other serious conditions.

Here are a few ways to prevent diabetes:

1. The first thing would be to reduce sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. This results in high blood sugar which activates the pancreas to produce insulin to help the sugar get out of the bloodstream into the body’s cells. As this cycle continues, this can progressively lead to higher blood sugar and hence higher insulin, turning into type 2 diabetes. Studies have found that those with the highest intakes of quick-digesting carbohydrates were 40% more likely to develop diabetes than those with the lower intakes.

2. Exercise. Studies show that physical activity reduces insulin resistance and blood sugar in overweight and pre-diabetics. When you exercise, less insulin is required to keep the levels blood sugar levels under control. At least 30-40 minutes of brisk walk is recommended 4-5 days a week to ensure good health.

3. Avoid canned fruit juices, aerated drinks and ensure you consume water, the most natural and safe drink you can consume. Sugary beverages such as sodas and punches have been linked to an increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes.

4. Though all those obese do not necessarily develop type 2 diabetes, the disease is found in a majority of those who are overweight.  Those likely to develop diabetes also tend to carry excess weight in the abdomen and organs such as liver – known as visceral fat. This fat promotes inflammation and insulin resistance that significantly increases the risk of diabetes. You could adopt one of the many healthy options for losing weight including a low-carb diet, veg and fibre rich diet, a Mediterranean diet or anything that suits you.

5. Studies have shown that smoking causes or contributes to type 2 diabetes, besides heart disease, cancer and other related health issues.

To sum it up, eat the right things in moderation, exercise regularly, have a stress-free lifestyle and stay positive, so you can keep at bay, lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and lead an active life.