Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes depends on factors you can’t control, including age, family history, and ethnicity. But certain risk factors you can control, including your diet, weight, and exercise habits. In fact, you can likely avoid developing the disease with a few lifestyle changes.
Look at the following factors that raise the chances of developing develop type 2 diabetes. Consider altering your lifestyle where you can to reduce your risk and maintain good health.
- Genetics – If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, especially involving your parents or siblings, you’re at greater risk.
- Ethnicity – People of African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or Alaska Native genetic backgrounds experience higher incidences of type 2 diabetes.
- Age – People older than 45 are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the National Institutes of Health report a notable increase in people younger than 20 being diagnosed with the condition over previous decades.
- Diet – What you choose to eat makes a difference in your health. People who consume a lot of added sugars – such as in soft drinks and baked goods – as well as processed carbohydrates, red meat, and saturated fat increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Physical Activity – Living a sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When you exercise, your muscles work harder, enhancing their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. As a result, your blood sugar stays at a healthy level and your insulin-making cells are less stressed. Not exercising means you lose this benefit.
- Weight -- Being overweight makes you seven times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. If you have a BMI, or body mass index, of 25 to 29.9, you’re considered overweight. Those with a BMI above 30 qualify as obese. BMI is a ratio of your body weight to your height. Many online calculators can estimate yours, or come into the office to have yours calculated.
- Smoking – Smokers have a 50% greater risk of developing diabetes compared to non-smokers.
What you can do if you’re at risk?
Your genes may make you more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, but you can reduce those risks by controlling your lifestyle habits.
Most importantly, refine your diet. Make poultry, fish, nuts, and beans your primary sources of protein – instead of red meat, hot dogs, lunch meat, and fatty cuts of pork. Load up your plate with plenty of fresh vegetables and choose healthy fats, found in avocados, olive oil, and seeds.
Ditch the soda, sugary coffee drinks, and juices; opt for unsweetened tea, coffee, and water instead. Choose whole grains over white, refined grains – think brown rice instead of white, whole-grain bread instead of Wonder, and quinoa instead of pasta.
Add physical activity into your regular routine. You don’t have to become a marathon runner or gym rat. Research shows that even 30 minutes of brisk walking a day seriously reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Changes to your diet and adding physical activity can further help you by leading to weight loss. Make a conscious effort to control portion sizes and say “no” to high-calorie foods. If you’re not sure where to begin with weight loss, seek guidance from the staff at Apex Medical Center.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net