Type 2 diabetes affects 95% of the 30 million Americans living with diabetes. Learn about diabetes prevention and ways to reduce your risk.
Reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which there is an excessive amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood system. If left untreated, it can cause severe health concerns such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, cancer, vision problems, and more.
There are three forms of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, affecting 95% of the 30 million Americans living with diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the insulin in the body is not used properly, and the blood sugar level rises. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include having prediabetes, being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and/or having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
While there are currently no known ways to prevent type 1 or gestational diabetes, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:
Get active. Physical activity can lower blood glucose, lower blood pressure, burn calories and fat, improve sleep and mood, and maintain weight loss. Daily workouts at the gym, walking, and playing a sport are all great options to get active. Talk with your doctor about ways you can increase your activity level, and the right type of exercise for you.
Change your eating habits. Balancing the different kinds of food on your plate is critical to preventing diabetes. Replace foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans-fat with fruit, whole grain, vegetables, fiber, and fish. Ask your doctor about your dietary options based on your specific needs.
Commit to rest. Getting enough sleep every night can help in controlling high blood sugar, maximizing energy, improving overall awareness, and activating insulin.
Avoid sugary beverages. Stay away from drinks containing high amounts of sugar or containing high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and fructose. Instead, drink water more frequently. Low sugar coffee and tea are good substitutes as well.
Talk to your doctor and stay educated. Have a conversation with your doctor on specific ways to help you prevent diabetes based on your health history − and commit to staying well-informed. Know the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which include frequent urination, extreme hunger and thirst, unexpected weight loss, and extreme tiredness. If you experience these symptoms – especially if you are in a high-risk group – contact your physician or healthcare provider right away.
View Dr. Mohammad Kharazmi’s profile to learn more.