Ways to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is on the rise due to the rising obesity rates.
According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, obesity makes an individual 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone at a healthier weight.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 29.1 million Americans living with diabetes. There are two types of diabetes: type 1, which typically affects people 21 years old and younger who lack insulin, and the most common, type 2, which can develop at any age. In most cases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
For those with diabetes, Stephanie Adams, a registered nurse at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, says preventative care is key and noncompliance is the number one reason patients return to the hospital.
“Some patients feel like they can eat whatever they want and not take the necessary precautions to care for themselves because they believe that whatever the problem is, they can fix it,” Adams says. “I know patients who tell me they are a little diabetic. That is like saying you are a little pregnant. People who are diabetic have to take it seriously and can’t think of it as a small thing in the back of their minds.”
Taking steps to prevent type 2 diabetes can help lower the risk of other health problems directly linked to diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and vision loss. Those at risk for type 2 can prevent or delay diagnosis by making important lifestyle changes. There is a general misconception that if diabetes runs in one’s family, they are likely to have it as well. However, studies show that most people who are at risk genetically don’t always get the disease.
“The accumulation of lifestyle behaviors such as learning bad habits, eating a poor diet and not exercising over a long period of time would be the contributing factors to you getting diabetes,” says Adams.
Eating certain foods in moderation is key to monitoring diabetes. Adams recommends eating more lean meats than red meats, consuming a diet containing more good fats than bad and drinking plenty of water.
Exercising is also essential because it improves muscles’ ability to use insulin and absorb glucose, which put less stress on insulin-making cells. Walking for a half hour a day can help prevent developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent, according to Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
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