Can you prevent diabetes if it runs in your family? | Health - Hindustan Times

Can you prevent diabetes if it runs in your family?

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Dec 11, 2022 07:40 AM IST

Health experts reveal whether diabetes can be prevented and if not prevented, can it be delayed if it runs in your family

If diabetes runs in your family, there is a fair chance that many of you might be pre-diabetic and some of you will get diabetes sooner or later. However, whether it's because of genetics or other factors, there are ways to lower the risk by developing a healthier lifestyle, form healthy habits and minimise your risk of getting diabetes even if you have inherited a diabetic causing gene.

Can you prevent diabetes if it runs in your family? (Tima Miroshnichenko)
Can you prevent diabetes if it runs in your family? (Tima Miroshnichenko)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ravi Gaur, Founder and Director of DRG Path Labs, shared, “There are many ways to lower the risk or definitely delay the onset of diabetes. Healthy lifestyle habits like, regular exercises (2-4 hours a week) and healthy eating (low sugar intake, specially in drinks and desserts) play a very important role in reducing the risk. One important thing to remember is that timing of your meal matters. Some people might do better with smaller and more frequent meals, while some do better with intermittent fasting. In general it's advisable to avoid eating late in the evening, when our glycemic response to food, tends to be higher and less optimal.”

He suggested a few of the other ways including -

1. Avoid alcohol and smoking

2.Get enough sunshine and vitamin D

3. Monitor weight at regular intervals and keep weight a little below ideal limit

4. Avoid stress - Stress can increase craving for sugars and can prevent insulin producing cells from working the way they should .

5. Take preventive health checks at regular intervals in thyroid function tests. The important blood tests to be taken are - Blood sugar fasting & two hours after meals, HBa1C, urine routine ,liver enzymes and lipids.

6. Monitor blood pressure at regular intervals.

Dr Ravi Gaur insisted, “Everyone can have different response to different factors, so it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider at regular intervals for guidance. It can be tough managing even just one method. You may start slow to incorporate all in your daily routine. Once you have managed to do that ,you can definitely reduce your risk for developing diabetes, even if you are genetically susceptible.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dietitian Garima Goyal echoed, “Family history of diabetes predisposes a person to the risk of diabetes and even pre-diabetes. Diabetes can be prevented and if not prevented, it can definitely be delayed by following a healthy lifestyle, being physically active, eating a healthy diet and aiming to reduce to or maintain the ideal body weight.”

For preventing or delaying diabetes, she recommended following these lifestyle changes -

1. Weight loss - First, having a genetic history of diabetes and secondly being overweight or obese increases the chances of developing diabetes by two to three times. Shred the extra fat of the body with physical activity and diet.

2. Physical activity - Physical activity is very crucial for controlling the risk of developing diabetes. The activity can be of any form - walking, cycling, yoga or aerobics. Body’s insulin sensitivity increases and blood sugar levels remain maintained with physical activity. Include at-least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise in a week and you can also combine this exercise form with weight training sessions of 30-45 minutes twice or thrice a week.

3. Diet management - Have a diet full of complex carbohydrates and cut down refined carbohydrates and sugar. Eating a diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes etc. helps a person to remain healthy and keep blood sugar levels regulated. Also watch your portion sizes and consume small and frequent meals.

4. Optimum sleep - For overall health, having 7 hours of sleep at a stretch is important. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and if it runs in the family, chances of being diabetic increases but it is not necessary and it can surely be managed.

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