How to lower your risk of diabetes

There are different types of diabetes, one of which is known to be preventable. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a buildup of glucose in the blood, which can cause a wide array of other health problems. While your blood always has some glucose in it, too much is an issue. Glucose is made by the liver and muscles, though much of it comes from our food. The pancreas creates insulin, which helps get glucose from your blood to cells. When there is too much glucose in your blood or not enough insulin, you can develop diabetes or prediabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed at a young age, in childhood or young adulthood. According to the Nationals Institutes of Health, only about 5 percent to 10 percent of people with diabetes suffer from Type 1. With this type, the body no longer produces insulin, as the immune system has attacked important cells in the pancreas.

By comparison, Type 2 diabetes can be developed later in life, over a longer period of time, though it can be diagnosed in children, as well. This is the most common form of diabetes and is often referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non insulin-dependent diabetes. There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including being overweight, older than 45 or if a family has a history of diabetes. There are also some people who may be predisposed to develop the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 29.1 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, affecting 9.3 percent of the total population. However, only 21 million people have reportedly been diagnosed, which means some Americans may not even realize they have the disease. Seniors have a higher risk for developing the disease, as the CDC found that 25.9 percent of seniors – or 11.2 million Americans –  have diabetes. Fortunately, there are many ways to lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Here are some things you can do to live a healthier life and reduce the risk of this disease:

Keep a healthy weight
According to the American Diabetes Association, being overweight or obese greatly increases your risk for developing diabetes and other health risks like stroke or heart attack. Those who are overweight should see a doctor to help develop a proper diet and exercise plan for the long term.

Skip soda
While drinking soda alone won't make you diabetic, drinking one or two sugary sodas per day can increase your risk by 26 percent, according to Harvard Medical School. Even just one soda per day can increase the risk of heart attack by 20 percent in men compared to those who don't drink sugary sodas. If you want to live a healthier life, skipping soda is one of the best things you can do. Swap for other alternatives like sugar-free drinks and iced tea.

Eat healthy fats
Instead of cutting out all fats from your diet, you just need to get rid of unhealthy fats. There are many fatty foods that are beneficial for your heart and brain that you need not avoid, such as olives, avocados, nuts and fatty fish. Healthy fats can help lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Exercise regularly
One of the biggest risk factors for diabetes and a slew of other health problems is living a sedentary lifestyle. Not getting enough exercise can greatly increase your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that sitting for six to eight hours per day is bad for your health in a number of ways. However, reducing the amount of time you spend sitting by just 90 minutes can be advantageous.

Get up and walk
After a meal or just 30 minutes of sitting, it's a good idea to get up and move around. The CDC recommends that healthy seniors get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, with strength training at least twice per week. Those with a higher risk of developing diabetes need to ensure they get this amount of time in, which means taking a walk after dinner or throughout the day to keep the metabolism going.

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2014-10-05T07:23:11+00:00 September 5th, 2014|Health Conditions|Comments Off on How to lower your risk of diabetes