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Diabetes Awareness: How to Lower Your Risk for Type II Diabetes

type 2 diabetesIndividuals living with type II diabetes live their lives balancing on a dangerously thin line. They must constantly monitor their blood, manage symptoms, and try to manage the lifestyle choices that impact their health. If you or a loved one are suffering from type II diabetes, then you know all too well about the day-to-day struggles of this often-avoidable disease. The good news is that there are choices you can make that will help to lower your risk and help you to protect yourself from this damaging, and potentially deadly condition.

What is Type II Diabetes?

Type II diabetes is a condition that causes glucose, or sugar, levels in the blood to rise to abnormal levels, a state known as hyperglycemia. In addition, individuals with type II diabetes do not produce proper amounts of insulin, the chemical that helps to regulate glucose levels, leading to further complications. According to Healthline, 29.1 million Americans suffer from diabetes, yet 8.1 million may be undiagnosed or unaware of their condition. That means more than one in every ten adults age 20 or older have diabetes. These staggering numbers underscore the need for education, and self-awareness, to help reduce the number of new diagnoses each year.

Type II Diabetes Risk Factors

Type II is the most common form of diabetes. You may be at an increased risk of developing type II diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Have an immediate family member with type II diabetes
  • Experienced gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have already been diagnosed as being prediabetic
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Smoke

How to Lower Your Risk for Type II Diabetes

Living a healthy lifestyle, which includes staying active and maintaining a healthy weight, are essential to lowering your risk for type II diabetes. Experts suggest that to minimize your chance of developing the disease, you should follow the tips below:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a serious risk factor for type II diabetes. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight-loss plan that will work for you.
  2. Stay active. An important part of any plan to maintain a healthy weight needs to include regular physical activity. The average adult should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. If you are not currently getting enough exercise, talk to your doctor about how to get started.
  3. If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, monitor your glucose levels. Six to 12 weeks after your baby is born, your doctor will want to test your blood glucose levels. If levels are still too high, your doctor may diagnose you as having type II diabetes. If your levels are normal, your doctor will likely want to continue testing your glucose levels every three years to ensure you have not developed the condition.
  4. Breastfeed your newborn. If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor will likely suggest that you breastfeed your newborn. Doing so will help ensure your baby receives proper nutrients and will help you burn calories.

If you believe that you may be at risk for developing type II diabetes, do not wait to talk to your doctor. He/she can help you put together a plan to start making the types of lifestyle changes that can help you lower your risk and maintain your overall health.

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