Updated: Jan 18, 2021
The traditional healthcare system is not designed to provide all the resources needed by clients and patients at risk for diabetes. Pre-diabetes has become a major health concern, requiring a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and advocates to help population health and to coach individuals and small groups of clients and patients so that they can sustain a lifestyle change. Reversing pre-diabetes and diabetes is now more important than ever with the increased risk for complications with Covid-19.
Many of the common chronic medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes require patients to take medications to manage the disease and do this for the remainder of their life. Reversing pre-diabetes and type 2 Diabetes is often possible however it requires lifestyle chances to eliminate the underlying cause of the problem. A health promoting diet combined with physical activity and targeted exercise can stabilize the condition to the point that medication is no longer needed.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) is Lifestyle Medicine and should be your first focus in reversing and to better manage the disease. The alternative is (1) having to take medication in increasing numbers and dosages for the rest of your life to control daily blood sugar levels, (2) deal with side effects that many medications have, (3) expect development of related medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, blindness, cancer, peripheral neuropathy and amputations, and (4) to have daily living activities be consumed with medication management.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes
The following lifestyle habits contribute to lowering daily blood sugar levels and reducing A1c.
♦ Healthy eating
♦ Weight management
♦ Targeted exercise and daily physical activity
Modifiable risk factors for diabetes
It’s your overall pattern of your choices that affects your health. Lifestyle changes can also improve or eliminate the modifiable risk factors for diabetes, these are:
Overweight and obesity
High blood pressure (>130/80 mmHg)
Low high-density lipoproteins (HDL) (good) cholesterol <35 mg/dL and/or triglycerides >250 mg/dL.
High percentage of abdominal fat
Dietary excesses and unhealthy food can be changed to choosing foods that have lower calories and makes you feel full. Avoid consuming refined sugars and flours and fill up with whole food plant based options instead provides you with fuel to nourish the body and heal itself. Eighty percent (80%) of most common chronic medical conditions are causes by unhealthy lifestyle habits. Avoid or minimize animal products and meats, especially processed meats which increase risk for developing certain cancers. People with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for developing certain cancers.
Many of the common diseases are linked to dietary excess. Choosing a health promoting diet reduces body fat, body weight and helps to build valuable metabolically active muscle tissue, that optimizes blood sugar uptake. Healthy eating paired with regular exercise is best to reduce the deep fat located around your internal organs that is affecting how your body functions.
Targeted Exercise and Daily Physical Activity
Avoid inactivity, too much string and lying down is detrimental to our health. Physical activity and exercise are recommended for everyone, exercise is particularly important when you have type 2 diabetes, have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or at risk for developing the disease.
Targeting your exercise to optimize blood sugar uptake
Cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, flexibility, balance, mobility training exercises are important in health, function and fitness. Resistance training in particular is important, it builds muscle tissue which boost blood glucose uptake and enhances your metabolism which contributes to losing body fat. Your muscles are a glucose burning powerhouse. The more muscle you have on the body the easier it will be able to control blood glucose. A 3-to 4-month focused exercise program (resistance training, aerobic exercise, flexibility) can bring dramatic improvements in health, fitness and function, and prevention of related medical conditions.
For older adults, muscle is vital in remaining independent. Loss of muscle is linked to balance problems, falls and fall-related injuries. Muscle is needed to be able to perform normal daily activities as well as recreational activities.
Exercise vs medication in blood sugar management
Research shows that resistance and aerobic exercise of appropriate quality and quantity both moderate and intensive utilize blood glucose uptake that are similar to
several diabetes drugs such as Metformin but without the side effects, and supervised training shows greatest effect in blood glucose control!
Diabetes medications and fall risk
Most if not all medications carry side effects that decrease quality of life. For older adults taking four or more medications daily increases the chances for falls and fall-related injuries. One of the most common diabetes medications Metformin is on the 'The Beers Criteria List' of medications associated with falls among older adults. Some diabetes medications are related to weight gain which causes more stress on joints and increase the chances for orthopedic complications.
Preventing Diabetes-Related Medical Conditions
Preventing and reducing your chances for developing related medical conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, heart disease, cancer, amputations, blindness, and loss of independence begins with therapeutic lifestyle changes. An exercise can be designed to include all your wellness goals, such as improving bone density, avoid orthopedic problems or joint replacements, improving overall strength, stamina, balance and mobility, improving overall functional fitness.
Staying independent to 90+ years of age
When you are older, maintaining and optimizing functional fitness for remaining independent to advanced age, for enjoying an active aging lifestyle, and for preventing
falls and injuries can improve quality life and longevity. Even at advanced age of 90+ years of age you can make therapeutic lifestyle changes, the sooner you change the better. Making healthy lifestyle choices with nourishing foods, avoiding foods that cause disease, optimal hydration, and exercise tailored to your health and medial status can add years to our life quality of life to your years.
Incorporating therapeutic lifestyle changes
Our health and fitness professionals provide many wellness services and often work in cooperation with your healthcare team. We are fitness professionals that have national and internally recognized certifications and a licensed physical therapist. Our fitness pro’s are accepted and listed in the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals®(USREPS®), which is an internationally recognized registry of exercise professionals in the United States.