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Diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone regardless of age. Not only the elderly, but also young people. Therefore, it is important to recognize the risk factors for diabetes so that you can prevent this disease from occurring and avoid its complications
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels in the body. This condition occurs because the body is unable to produce enough insulin or use it effectively. Insulin is a hormone that plays a role in regulating blood sugar.
About 9.1 million Indonesians are estimated to suffer from diabetes. Based on age group, most people with diabetes are in the age range of 55-74 years. However, this disease is also experienced by young people in their 20s to 40s.
Why are Young People at Risk for Diabetes?
Diabetes can indeed be influenced by the age factor. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing diabetes. This is thought to occur because the body is no longer able to produce insulin in the same amount as when it was young.
In addition, as we age, the body's cells may find it harder to use insulin, so blood sugar can increase more easily. However, it does not mean that young people are safe from diabetes.
The risk of diabetes can still occur in people who are still young, especially if they have the following risk factors:
People who are overweight or obese are at risk of developing diabetes. This happens because excess fat tissue in the body can make it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively. This condition is called insulin resistance.
In addition, obese people are also at high risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a condition that can trigger diabetes.
Not maintaining diet
Everyone, whether children, young adults, or even the elderly, will be at a higher risk of developing diabetes if they do not maintain their diet properly.
The habit of frequently consuming sugary drinks or foods, soft drinks, and rarely consuming fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, is known to contribute to increasing the risk of diabetes.
Infrequent exercise can also increase the risk of developing diabetes in young age groups. This is because the body is less able to use glucose effectively as energy if you rarely move or exercise. As a result, blood sugar tends to increase easily and is difficult to control.
Genetic or hereditary factors
Genetic or hereditary factors are one of the risk factors for diabetes. Therefore, the risk of developing diabetes at a young age can also increase if you have family members, such as parents or siblings, who also suffer from this chronic disease.
You are also at risk of developing diabetes if you have certain diseases, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Let's Control Blood Sugar Now
To prevent or reduce the risk of diabetes, you can take the following steps to control blood sugar levels in the body:
1. Check blood sugar levels regularly
Blood sugar checks can be done after fasting for 8-10 hours before eating and 1-2 hours after eating. Blood sugar tests can be done in a laboratory or at home using a blood sugar checker (glucometer). Don't forget to write down the results when you check.
In people who have risk factors for diabetes, this blood sugar test can be done every 3-6 months. If your blood sugar is high, you can do a fasting blood sugar test and an HbA1C test to determine whether you have diabetes or not.
2. Maintain intake and diet
A good diet is an important step to prevent and control diabetes. You can maintain your diet and food intake in the following ways:
- Avoid foods that are high in calories, sugar, carbohydrates, saturated fat and trans fats, such as ice cream, sweet cakes, sweets, chocolate, processed meats, and fatty meats.
- Eat foods high in fiber, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, including oats or oatmeal.
- Drink lots of water and avoid sugary drinks, sodas, or those containing added sweeteners.
- Eat food slowly and control your portion size using small plates while eating.
3. Exercise regularly
Not only good for weight loss, exercise can also help you control blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance.
Therefore, take at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. You can choose light exercise, such as walking, going up and down stairs at home, and yoga. During this pandemic, you should exercise at home so you can continue to apply physical distancing.
4. Reducing stress
Stress can make it difficult for the body to control blood sugar. To reduce stress, you can try meditation, listen to music, do hobbies and other things you enjoy, or simply share stories with friends and family.
5. No smoking
Smoking can cause serious he alth problems and increase the risk of diabetes complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and retinopathy.
Diabetes and COVID-19
One of the effects caused by diabetes is the weakening of the immune system. High and uncontrolled blood sugar levels can disrupt the work of the immune system, so that the body is less strong to fight various infectious causes, such as viruses and bacteria.
This is what makes people with diabetes more vulnerable to COVID-19. Research even shows that around 25% of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms are diabetic.
In addition, diabetics who test positive for the Corona virus are also said to be at risk for serious complications, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and sepsis.
If you have one or more risk factors for diabetes, take the diabetes prevention steps above and consult a doctor to get the right treatment.
Don't hesitate to see a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of diabetes, such as often feeling thirsty and very hungry, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, tingling or numbness, fatigue, blurred vision, or if there are wounds that are difficult to heal.