Maintaining heart health may be the key to diabetes prevention
04/07/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Keeping your heart healthy could lower your chances of developing diabetes. This is what a team of American researchers found when they looked at the data of more than 7,500 individuals.

The team -- composed of researchers from the Ohio State University -- encouraged the participants to follow the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life’s Simple 7. It is a seven-step guideline that was developed in an attempt to improve the cardiovascular health of Americans. It includes being more physically active; following a healthy diet; limiting tobacco use; maintaining a normal weight; and keeping normal levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Throughout the follow-up period, all participants had their heart health and Type 2 diabetes incidence tracked.

The research team discovered that participants who had normal blood sugar levels at the start of the study and made more heart-healthy lifestyle changes -- particularly four or more -- were more likely to have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Adhering to more heart-healthy lifestyle changes resulted in as much as 80 percent lower risk of developing the condition. However, those who already had prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose did not experience lower diabetes risk, despite following four of the lifestyle guidelines. The findings of the study were published in the journal Diabetologia.

Preventing prediabetes from developing Type 2 diabetes

However, it is still not too late to prevent diabetes in people who have prediabetes. Here are some tips on how to prevent prediabetes from becoming Type 2 diabetes:


Reducing your stress levels

Research has shown that too much stress can take a toll on your immune system and could increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by changing your insulin needs. Moreover, chronic stress may also trigger a cascade of hormonal events that increase appetite. Try to regulate your stress levels by practicing yoga or other activities that calm and relax your mind.

Adhering to a healthy diet and being more physically active

A Cochrane review suggests that people who have prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by changing their diet and being physically active. In particular, people in this group are advised to reduce their calorie intake and get more exercise.

In the review, the researchers evaluated 12 randomized control trials that tried to change people's lifestyles for at least two years and for up to six years. These trials included more than 5,000 people with prediabetes in total. The studies had slight differences from each other, but they all assigned people with prediabetes to different interventions of diet and exercise in different combinations.

People with prediabetes are encouraged to eat healthily and lose any extra pounds. This can be done by eating more lean meats or protein substitutes, fresh vegetables, high-fiber starches, and healthy fats without compromising your nutrient intake. People with prediabetes are also advised to eat in small portions and to have your meal and snacks schedules to avoid extreme spikes and drops in blood sugar throughout the day. Exercising for at least 30 minutes five times a week can also help prevent prediabetes from becoming Type 2 diabetes. (Related: Reverse Prediabetes with Better Eating Habits and Supplements.)

Visit to learn more about how to protect yourself from diabetes.

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