National Diabetes Month: Prevention and Risk Factors

National Diabetes Month: Prevention and Risk Factors

by Posted on: November 13, 2017Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to the large impact this disease has on Americans. Over 30 million, or one in ten Americans, have diabetes, a disease that can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it is not properly controlled. Medical costs for those with diabetes are twice as high as those without the disease.

An estimated 84 million Americans are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Luckily, those at risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half by making healthy changes. Listed below are risk factors for diabetes, as well as healthy changes that can be made to prevent onset of the disease.

Risk Factors:

  1. Having Prediabetes: Those with blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes have a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
  2. Weight: Those who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  3. Age: Those older than 45 years are more likely to develop the disease.
  4. Genetics: Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  5. Exercise: Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
  6. Gestational Diabetes: Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.

Healthy Changes:

  1. Lose Weight and Keep it Off: Not only losing weight, but also maintaining a healthy weight, is important in preventing diabetes.
  2. Get More Exercise: Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been recently active, ask your doctor which activities are best to begin with.
  3. Improve your Diet: Reduce portion sizes to limit caloric intake. Try to choose foods with less fat and sugar, and choose water over sweetened beverages.

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