Diabetes Prevention: Are You In Danger?
Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. It is the fifth-deadliest disease and its prevalence has grown five percent annually since 1990. Today diabetes affects nearly seven percent of the population, or about 21 million people. And in some areas of the country, like New York City, the rates are astronomical – about one in eight people suffer from diabetes.
The good news is that most cases of diabetes can be prevented.
About 90 percent of people diagnosed have type 2 diabetes. And about 80 to 95 percent of those cases are due to obesity – the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. That’s why maintaining a healthy weight is key to the prevention of diabetes.
However, the prevention of diabetes isn’t just about weight. It’s about having a healthy lifestyle – and it requires small, but effective changes in your daily life.
Understanding the risk factors associated with diabetes is the first step toward prevention. The next step toward preventing diabetes is discussing any concerns with your physician, and leading the healthiest life possible. Whether you’re concerned about yourself, or someone you love, following these diabetes prevention tips are always a good start.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention: Know If You Are At Risk
There are a variety of factors that increase your risk of diabetes. Some you can’t control, like your age, ethnicity and family history. Some common uncontrollable risk factors associated with diabetes include:
- Age 45 or older
- Family history of diabetes
- African American, Hispanic / Latin American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian American or Pacific Islander ethnicity
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Disease of blood vessels to the heart, brain, or legs
However, the biggest risk factor for diabetes type 2 is obesity, often accompanied by an inactive lifestyle. And these are risk factors you can control.
Diabetes Prevention: What You Can Do
By making simple lifestyle changes, you can prolong or prevent diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Education Foundation, losing five to seven percent of your body weight is the key to diabetes prevention.
In addition to weight, it’s important to monitor your body mass index (BMI). This is the ratio of body fat to height and weight. Even if you are slender, you can still be considered overweight or obese if your BMI is high. Building muscle mass by participating in physical activity can help lower your BMI and reduce the risk of diabetes. Using a body fat scale in addition to a body mass index (BMI) table can help you determine your current health risk and target goals.
10 Tips for Preventing Diabetes
1) Understand your risk of diabetes
2) Eat breakfast
3) Drink plenty of water
4) Monitor your salt intake
5) Stick to a low fat diet
6) Use sugar-free substitutes
7) Eat healthy (plenty of fruits and vegetables)
8) Take a multi-vitamin
9) Reduce portion sizes
Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle, as well as following these diabetes prevention tips in addition to any recommended by your primary care physician, can reduce or prolong your risk of diabetes.
Learn more about nutritional guidelines and exercise recommendations for the treatment and prevention of diabetes.
Diabetes.org – www.diabetes.org
National Diabetes Education Foundation – ndep.nih.gov
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© 2015 Diabetic Care Services a division of Care Services, Inc.