The prevalence of Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, has more than doubles the last century, with 1 in 12 people have the disease. Diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM 2) represents the 90% of the cases. Despite the knowledge regarding prevention and treatment, the incidence keeps increasing.
The DM2, is a subcategory of DM which is characterized by 2 main clinical features, reduced insulin secretion by beta cells of the pancreas along with insulin resistance. Insulin is the key component for glucose uptake. This results in blood glucose increase, which is called hyperglycemia. Prior to the clinical onset of diabetes, there is the so-called state of prediabetes (fasting glucose 100-125mg / dl or a 2 hour postprandial glucose 140-200mg / dl), which is largely reversible since there are modifications in lifestyle and diet.
The DM2 is a hereditary disease. Individuals who have a family history to DM2 should be cautious about lifestyle and diet, as they share high chances of developing diabetes later on. However, despite any predisposition, there are factors which determine both whether a person will have the disease.
Among the modifiable risk factors, excess body fat is the one that mostly affects the risk of developing diabetes 2. Increase in body weight exponentially increases the risk of DM2, while obtaining a healthy body weight greatly reduces the risk. Excess fat mass significantly decreases the activity of insulin, thus requiring greater insulin production from pancreatic cells to maintain glucose control (hyperinsulinemia). Chronic obesity gradually reduces the functionality of b-cells to produce insulin. Even a small weight loss reduces serum glucose levels, blood pressure and improves dyslipidemia. If your BMI [body weight (kg)/height X height (m)], is above 25kg/m2, it is indicated a loss of 5-7%. Distribution of fat also affects the risk of diabetes. Abdominal obesity apart from increasing cardiovascular risk also increases the risk of DM2. A simple and inexpensive way to check the presence of abdominal obesity is to measure your waist circumference. A measurement ≥80cm for women and ≥94cm for men indicates abdominal obesity.
Very important role seems to play also exercise and physical activity, not only in maintaining a healthy weight but also affecting the risk of DM2. Exercise increases glucose uptake from body cells, improves insulin activity and therefore reduces hyperglycemia. Several studies have shown that regular exercise, 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes can reduce up to 35-40% the risk of developing diabetes. Integrate exercise in your life. If you don’t love sports, even everyday walking is a very good option. For those who have just started to improve their physical condition, it is recommended 30 minutes of exercise of moderate intensity every day (brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dance). For those who already do sports, 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous intensity exercise per week.
In addition to weight and physical activity and quality of diet, it also seems to affect the risk of developing diabetes. Diet based on Mediterranean diet pattern (whole grain cereals, fiber and low in saturated fat) appears to significantly improve postprandial serum glucose levels. Studies have revealed that people who have adopted a healthy and balanced diet, they have reduced the risk of developing diabetes, independently of body weight. Consume daily a variety of foods, 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables, have regular meals that contain wholegrain cereals, fibers, lean protein products low in saturated fats, minimize sugar intake, have a moderate alcohol consumption (1 serving a day / women, 2 servings a day / men) and drink abundant water.
The risk of DM is also influenced by the existence of other clinical conditions, such as arterial hypertension, lipemia and cardiovascular disease.
In conclusion, we would say that type 2 diabetes is the disease of modern life. So reduce the risk of diabetes, by adopting a healthy way of living.