Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

It’s a great way to honor American Diabetes Association Alert Day—Tues., March 28

What do you know about Type 2 Diabetes? This most common form of diabetes is called hyperglycemia. Individuals with this disease have blood sugar (glucose) levels that rise to higher than normal because their bodies do not produce insulin properly. With this insulin resistance, the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose at normal levels.

But learning about diabetes is also about learning how to improve your overall health, since there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Here is an overview.

Basics to reduce your risk level

1. Eat healthy
You hear this all the time, but here’s an added reason to improve your diet: It’s one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Need some support in making better choices? The American Diabetes Association has developed an interactive tool called Create Your Plate, to devise different healthy meal combinations.

2. Avoid being overweight
If you stay at a healthy weight, you’re in a better position to manage—or even prevent—problems like prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. But reducing your weight also helps you to avoid other health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol.

Here are some basic lifestyle choices that people make who take or keep weight off:

  • cut back on calories and fat.
  • be physically active most days of the week.
  • eat breakfast every day.
  • weigh yourself at least once a week.
  • watch less than 10 hours of TV a week.

3. Be physically active
Getting regular physical activity can make a big difference in your health. And the benefits persist over time. Among its many health advantages, exercise:

  • lowers your risk for conditions including prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease
  • lowers your blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides
  • strengthens your muscles (including your heart!) and bones
  • helps to relieve stress
  • improves flexibility
  • tones your muscles
  • Improves your circulation.

Factors you can’t control: Age, race, and family history
There are some factors that affect your risk for diabetes that you cannot control. Still, it is smart to aware of them. For instance, as you age, your risk goes up. Having a family member with the disease also is a factor. And some races—African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans— have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. You should discuss all of these with your doctor, so you can make a plan as needed to lower your risks in other areas.

Did you know?
There are many ways to lower your risk for diabetes. Learn more about each of these variables. It can make a difference!

Once you’re equipped with information, you’re in the position to make smart choices that can improve your health. We hope you’ll take these lessons to heart and spread the word to those around you.

This post is part of the Branford Hall weekly blog. We’re dedicated to the health and well-being of all our students. Find out more about the range of training programs we offer at eleven campuses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.