According to a study by the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million Americans had diabetes in 2011. That’s roughly 8.3% of the population. There are two major types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It occurs when the pancreas looses it’s ability to produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to use glucose. Type 2 diabetes is more common. It occurs when the body is not able to use the insulin it makes. Type 2 is also known as insulin resistance or adult-onset diabetes. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, but type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Here are some basic tips to prevent type 2 diabetes.
The first tip is to eat healthy foods, which everyone should be doing anyways. Your diet has a major impact on your overall health, and a bad diet can contribute greatly to type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association: “…eating well to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.” So we know our diet is important, but just what should we eat? Fresh vegetables and fruits are recommended, as are whole grains. When out to dinner look for grilled meat options in place of fried. Cutting back on snack-foods and soda, both high in calories but low in nutritional content, is also advised.
Another good tip to prevent type 2 diabetes is to stay fit. Physical activity “lowers your risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.” However, you don’t need to become a body builder or professional athlete to decrease your risk. “Experts recommend moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week.” These types of activities can include walking, biking or swimming. According to My Diabetes Home: “…you could prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by losing weight through small changes in eating and physical activity.” So if you are not already, get up and get active today.
There are many health reasons to quit smoking other than risk of lung cancer or emphysema. Smoking “lowers the amount of oxygen that gets to your organs, raises your bad cholesterol and raises your blood pressure.” All of these risks lead to an increase in risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. From Time.com: “Diabetes patients who smoke have higher blood sugar levels, making their disease more difficult to control and putting them at greater danger of developing complications such as blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure and heart problems.” So if you are a smoker you can add diabetes risks to the growing number of reasons to quit.
Your risk for diabetes goes up if you have a family history with the disease. Although there is nothing you can do to change your family history, it does help to be aware of the possible increase in risk due to it and to act accordingly. Speak with your doctor and let them know about your family history with diabetes, and ask how this effects your overall risks with diabetes.