How can I help prevent early aging from diabetes?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Diabetic patients who take charge of their condition -- vigilantly keeping their blood pressure low, doing all three forms of physical activity (stretching, strength-building exercise, and stamina-building exercise), flossing their teeth, and keeping their blood sugar levels within normal ranges (by working with their physicians) to find a regimen of pills and diet -- experience very little premature aging. Even patients who do only some of these things -- for example, losing excess weight, walking just thirty minutes a day, and lifting weights ten minutes every other day -- also benefit.

Eating a balanced diet is important, too. That means decreasing simple sugars and increasing fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grain intake. In addition, make sure you have some nuts or healthy fat about eight minutes before eating. Seventy calories of healthy fat (six walnuts, twelve almonds, twenty peanuts, or half a tablespoon of olive oil) is all you need to slow the emptying of your stomach so your blood sugar doesn't go sky high after fruit. Making these lifestyle changes can cause diabetics to reverse the aging effects of the disease altogether, suffering no more aging than their disease-free peers. Think of it this way: The diabetic's body can no longer create the conditions it needs for healthy existence all on its own. However, it is possible for the diabetic to make choices that create an environment inside the body that keeps him or her in an equally healthy state.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.