Over 425 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide. In an effort to raise awareness for the disease, the International Diabetes Federation and the United Nations partnered to recognize November 14 as World Diabetes Day.
The Centers for Disease Control defines diabetes as a “condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy.” But not all forms of diabetes are the same. In fact, the disease is categorized as type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
While type 1 and gestational diabetes can be managed with medication, type 2 diabetes can be handled—and in some cases prevented—with proper exercise and diet. However, it’s necessary to consult any change in diet and exercise with your primary physician.
TYPE 1 DIABETES
Type 1 diabetes is less common and occurs in people under the age of 20. Though anyone at any age can be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an immune disorder, where the body attacks its own pancreas. This inhibits the body’s innate ability to produce insulin and balance levels.
Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas that is used to regulate and break down glucose, a sugar-based energy source. Without the proper level of insulin, your body cannot use glucose as energy. When glucose remains unused and will gather in your blood, which can cause health complications.
People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin and need to regulate blood sugar levels with external insulin injections.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. In fact, the International Diabetes Federation reports that 1 out of 2 people who have type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed. This form of diabetes is when the body is resistant to insulin or does not produce enough insulin to regulate glucose levels.
Researchers have associated Type 2 diabetes with obesity, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits. Individuals over the age of 35 are most likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that affects roughly 4 percent of pregnant women. When a woman suffers from gestational diabetes, her body becomes resistant to insulin, but reverts to normal after pregnancy. This type of diabetes can be managed with proper diet and exercise.
HOW TO MANAGE TYPE 2 DIABETES
While type 1 and gestational diabetes can be handled with medication and injections, type 2 diabetes can be managed with proper diet and exercise.
Researchers have found that adding physical activity to your lifestyle can improve glucose blood control and delay type 2 diabetes. In their case studies, the researchers found that moderate to vigorous physical activity can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes up to 58 percent. The best results cited in the research are moderate to vigorous activities up to three times a week.
While studies show the positive impact exercise has on diabetes, individuals should consult with their primary physician for proper diet instruction. Each case of diabetes is unique and will require a specific amount of exercise and a tailored diet.