Latest Research Shows New Ways To Prevent and Treat Diabetes
The conventional wisdom on type 2 diabetes says that the main risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, and family history. To reduce the risk of developing diabetes (or to help control the disease) many people put their efforts into improving their diet and staying active.
That’s a great start because experts say that even a modest amount of weight loss can noticeably improve the overall health of diabetic patients. But the latest research suggests there’s a lot more that can be done.
In recent years, studies have shown that the causes for type 2 diabetes are more complex than you might think. These findings could eventually lead to new developments in how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.
But in the meantime, here are some of the risk factors that the latest research points towards—and what you can do about them!
In the Mind
One study showed personality traits like hostility and low optimism are linked to diabetes. The study used data from almost 140,000 women and looked at their risk for type 2 diabetes. It found:
- Women with the lowest levels of optimism had up to 12 percent increased risk
- Women with the highest levels of hostility had up to 17 percent increased risk
Experts say these personality traits lead to higher levels of stress which cause harmful hormonal changes. And these hormonal changes contribute to diabetes.
What This Means
Mental health therapy should play a role in diabetes treatment. Talk therapy can be a great way to manage your stress levels. In addition, It can also provide you with techniques for managing feelings of hostility and pessimism.
If you don’t think you have the time to get therapy with your busy schedule, consider using a virtual health service. These services are offered by some healthcare providers to enable you to get mental health support and advice via video chats or texts on your phone or tablet.
In the Gut
There’s also research that highlights the importance of gut health. This research shows that in an obese person, the gut produces lower levels of a certain immune cell. This immune cell creates an antibody that’s needed to neutralize harmful types of gut bacteria. Researchers say the lack of this antibody may contribute to diabetes.
What This Means
This finding reinforces the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet because that can affect gut bacteria and immune cells. To get help with choosing the right foods and planning your meals, you should speak to your healthcare provider or consider getting help from a specialist like a nutritionist.
In the Womb
Other experts are pointing to the importance of prenatal care. Research shows that stressors on a mother during pregnancy (such as poor-nutrition) can make the baby more likely to develop diabetes at some point in its life.
Interestingly, this connection first came to light following the Dutch Hunger Winter in 1944-1945. Women who were pregnant during the famine had children that developed obesity and diabetes at higher rates than normal.
In addition, gestational diabetes (when the mother has diabetes during pregnancy) is another risk factor.
What This Means
This research highlights the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy. And if you’re pregnant and suspect you have gestational diabetes, you should speak to your doctor.
When you look at all of these new findings together, it shows the benefits of a holistic approach to treating diabetes. That means looking at the body as a whole and working to improve your overall health and wellness.
This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to diet and exercise. Those are still considered major risk factors and one of the best ways you can manage the disease. But it does mean that your diabetes treatment plan should involve a lot of different aspects.
That can include nutritionists to help with meal planning, physiotherapists to help with exercise programs, counsellors to help with mental health, and more.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, some healthcare providers offer diabetes education programs to help you make sense of it all. Remember: there’s no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled. With a comprehensive diabetes management plan, you can reduce your health risks and start enjoying a better quality of life.