Individuals 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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Diabetes is a dangerous health condition in which blood glucose levels rise higher than normal, a state known as hyperglycemia. For those suffering from type II diabetes, since their bodies do not properly use insulin, excess levels of the hormone are produced by the pancreas. Over time, the pancreas cannot create enough insulin to manage glucose levels, resulting in dangerous side effects.
Type II diabetes is the most common form of the disease, representing about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases. It is estimated that 29.1 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, 8.1 million of who may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. As if these statistics aren’t great enough cause for concern, experts predict that the number of cases of type II diabetes is on the rise. The good news is that many of the risk factors for type II diabetes are preventable. By making conscious choices to lead a healthy lifestyle, you can help to reduce or even eliminate the likelihood for being diagnosed with the type II diabetes. If you fear that you or someone you love may be at risk for the disease, read these healthy tips that will help you lower your odds of being diagnosed with this painful, and potentially deadly condition.
Manage Your Weight.
An overweight or obese body mass index (BMI) is one of the greatest risk factors for developing type II diabetes. In a recent study, individuals who lose only seven percent of their initial body weight and exercising regularly reduced their risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.
The first step toward diabetes prevention is getting out and getting active. Regular physical activity can help you to lower your weight and blood sugar levels, and increase your sensitivity to insulin, all things that will help you to lower your risk of developing type II diabetes.
As if you didn’t need another reason, if you are a smoker, it’s time to kick the smoking habit. Tobacco use can increase blood sugar levels that lead to insulin resistance. Studies show that individuals who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day almost double their risk of developing diabetes compared to nonsmokers.
Eat Foods High in Fiber.
This simple ingredient can make a significant difference in lowering your risk of developing diabetes. Fiber helps to improve blood sugar control, lower the risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss. In addition, when you eat fiber, you are likely to feel fuller, for longer, reducing your desire to snack on sugary, calorically-dense foods. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds, and nuts are all foods high in fiber. Incorporate more of these healthy foods into your diet to help manage your diabetes risk factors.
Choose Whole Grains.
There are many benefits of incorporating whole grains into your diet, including reducing your risk for type II diabetes. The mighty whole grain can help you to maintain proper blood sugar levels. When browsing the aisles of the grocery store, choose whole grain product options whenever possible, especially when choosing pastas, breads, and cereals.
Eat Smaller Meals.
When you eat only one or two large meals per day that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and/or sodium, your glucose levels spike. Eating more small, well-balanced meals throughout the day can lower your chances of experiencing unsafe spikes in blood glucose levels, and can ultimately lower your risk of diabetes.
Reducing your risk of diabetes is as simple as maintaining a healthy diet and being active every day. If you have questions or need help adopting healthy lifestyle habits, contact your doctor today. And if you are in Western New York and looking for a new Ob-gyn, please consider our practice.