Diabetes is a disease that has overtaken America. African-Americans, Mexican Americans, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are more prone to Type 2 Diabetes. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes diabetes.
Diabetes affects approximately 29.1 million people (9.3% of the population) in the United States, while another 86 million people have pre-diabetes and don’t know it. According to Medicine Net, an estimated 8.1 million people in the United States have diabetes and don’t even know it.
Want to know if you’re at risk? Some common symptoms of Type 1 and 2 diabetes are:
- Increased urine output
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Skin problems
- Slow healing wounds
- Yeast infections
- Tingling or numbness in the feet or toes
Type 1 diabetes is hereditary, where as Type 2 isn’t. It’s important to control what we can. Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, which is why it is SO important to watch what you eat and exercise regularly.
Here are a few actionable items you can put in place today to lessen your chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes:
1. Change Your Diet
The older we get, the slower our metabolism gets. Which is why it’s important to establish a healthy eating routine early on. Eating healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the foods you love, just eating them less. A good rule to keep is to eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge in your favorite foods 20% of the time. This helps to keep your fat levels low. Excess body fat can increase the body’s resistance to the hormone insulin, which can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
2. Check Your Risk
Through a simple test and assessment, you can see if you’re at risk to have Type 2 Diabetes. Do any of the symptoms listed above apply to you? This means that you may be at risk. Look at your family’s health history, although Type 2 isn’t hereditary, eating patterns among family members tend to be similar, depending on the culture you were raised in, increasing your risk. For example, if your family is prone to eating fried and sweet foods in excess, examine if you are doing the same, or if you’ve been cutting back appropriately to lessen your risk.
3. Exercise Regularly
I get it, exercise isn’t the most fun thing to do, especially if you haven’t done so in a while. However, I can NOT stress enough how important it is to get DAILY exercise in. Even if it’s for 30 minutes. A hack to loving exercise again is to find an activity that YOU love. Miss skating? Try that. Do you love to dance around like no one’s watching? Try that or try a Zumba class! However you get your exercise in, make sure that you do so. This greatly reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels, managing weight and may also improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
4. Quit Smoking
Did you know that smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers? Why? Smoking cigarettes has the ability to make your body more resistant to insulin, which can lead to higher blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to serious complications from diabetes, including problems with your kidneys, heart, and blood vessels.
5. Get Your Annual Check-Up
As you get older, it’s a good idea to regularly check your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Being sure to get your annual check up ensures that your doctor will be able to diagnose early stages of diabetes, to help you head in the right direction. Don’t wait until something feels wrong to head to the doctor, always get annual check-ups to always stay on the safe side.
Overall, the key to lowering your risk of Type 2 diabetes is simple: Eat a well-balanced diet and stay active! Looking for medical advice you can take with you in physical form?
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