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How To Reduce Your Risk Of Getting Diabetes And Hypertension

06 Mar 2021
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According to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), 18.3% of Malaysian adults aged 18 and above (around 3.9 million people) are suffering from diabetes, a spike from 13.4% in 2015.

This chronic disease has become alarmingly common. However, the good news is that it is mostly preventable, particularly when it comes to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.  

The key to prevention or reducing your risk is to practise healthy lifestyle habits. Making the following changes can also lower your chances of getting hypertension - also known as high blood pressure - which often occurs alongside diabetes and can lead to heart disease and stroke if left untreated.

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1. Have a balanced diet

Good nutrition is an important part of diabetes prevention. Watching what you eat, as well as how much and when you eat, will help keep your blood sugar levels under control. 

Cut down on fried, processed, sugary and fatty foods and drinks. Consume more water, fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and healthy fats. 

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2. Get more exercise

Inactivity is among the main causes of diabetes. So turn off the TV or computer, put away your smartphone for a while, and get moving! You don’t have to go jogging or running if that’s not what you enjoy. Try brisk walking, swimming, yoga, pilates, dancing or cycling. 

When you workout your muscles more often, you are training them to work harder, and this helps improve your body’s ability to properly use insulin. 

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3. Quit smoking and monitor your alcohol intake

Did you know that alcoholic beverages tend to be high in calories? This is why if you regularly consume alcohol, your chances of becoming diabetic increases, as alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels and cause you to gain weight. 

And we’re all already aware that smoking is bad. The nicotine in cigarettes can increase your blood pressure and heart rate by causing your blood vessels to narrow and harden.

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4. Watch your sodium intake 

Consuming too much salt can increase your blood pressure and potentially cause hypertension. Even though salt does not affect blood sugar levels, reducing your salt intake is still beneficial, as high blood pressure can lead to other health complications such as kidney and heart disease.

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5. Monitor your blood pressure 

Invest in a simple, inexpensive home blood pressure monitor so that you can track your blood pressure regularly. This will provide you with a more accurate picture of your blood pressure, compared to annual or intermittent checks at your local health clinic or pharmacy.

Implementing these changes will benefit your health and prevent chronic illnesses in the long run. You don’t have to make these changes all at once. Take things one at a time, and celebrate any progress, no matter how small.

Be sure to also schedule regular health checkups, and invest in a health insurance plan, if you haven’t already. You’re working hard to make your dreams come true, so don’t let costly medical bills derail your plans. Consider Gibraltar BSN’s GoProtect Platinum, which provides coverage with a high sum assured against diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.