Find out how to prevent diabetes and lead a more healthy lifestyle.
There are two kinds of diabetes, and both change how your body processes sugar and food. Type 1 tends to develop at a young age and occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 usually appears as you get older and the body no longer responds to insulin. Did you know that if you have a parent or a sibling with diabetes, you are automatically at higher risk of developing it yourself?
Luckily, it is possible to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Follow these five simple steps and lower your risk:
- Adjust your diet: The biggest risk factor in developing Type 2 diabetes is obesity. Even people who are slightly overweight put themselves at higher risk. According to the CDC, losing as little as five to seven percent of your total bodyweight can make all the difference. Lowering your sugar intake is an excellent way to begin.
- Exercise regularly: The NIH states that as little as 30 minutes of light exercise five days a week is enough to stave off diabetes.
- Have a yearly check-up: Prediabetes occurs when an individual has a very high potential of becoming diabetic. Diet and exercise can prevent a diabetes diagnosis.
- Start young: People who were obese in their childhood are more likely to develop diabetes later in life. Give your kids a head start by teaching them the importance of a healthy diet.
- Quit smoking: While diabetes may not directly result from smoking, it’s extra harmful for people who already are diabetic. Smoking harms the small blood vessels, blocking circulation in the extremities, causing foot ulcers and infections.
Are you at risk?
- Age. According to the ADA, people over the age of 45 have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
- Family history. Individuals with a family history of diabetes should be extra vigilant and get tested for diabetes on a regular basis.
- Sex. Men have a higher risk of diabetes, however women who had gestational diabetes are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Ethnicity. According to the CDC, those of African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian decent have a higher predisposition to Type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association has a Diabetes Risk Test you can take online. If you have any questions regarding diabetes or its related health conditions, contact your healthcare provider or go to our diabetes information page.