We may not understand exactly the cause of type 2 diabetes, but we sure know that certain factors can put you at increased risk.
Certain factors are out of your control:
- Your risk is greater if you have a brother, sister, or parent with type 2 diabetes.
- You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, but your risk increases as you get older. Your risk is particularly high after age 45.
- African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and American Indians stand a higher risk than Caucasians.
- Women who have a condition known polycystic ovarian syndrome are at increased risk.
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You may be able to influence these factors:
- Being overweight shows that you have more fatty tissue, which makes your cells more resistant to insulin. Extra fat in the abdomen too increases your risk more than extra fat in the hips and thighs.
- Your risk increases too if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise uses up glucose and aids your cells respond better to insulin.
- Eating a lot of junk foods or eating too much of it wreaks havoc on your blood glucose levels.
You’re also at increased risk if you’ve had gestational diabetes or if you have prediabetes.
Tips for how to prevent type 2 diabetes
You can’t always prevent type 2 diabetes. There’s nothing you can do about your genetics, ethnicity, or age.
If you have prediabetes or other diabetes risk factors and even if you do not, a few lifestyle tweaks can help delay or even keep the onset of type 2 diabetes. These changes in diet, exercise, and weight management work together to assist to keep your blood sugar levels within the ideal range all day long:
Your diet should be high in nutrient-rich carbohydrates and fiber. You also require heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids from certain kinds of fish and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Dairy products should be low in fat. It’s not only what you eat, but also how much you eat that is the matter. You should be very careful about portion sizes and try to eat meals at about the same time every day.
Type 2 diabetes is linked with inactivity. Getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day can help improve your overall health. Try to add in extra movement throughout the day, too.
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You’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting daily exercise should assist you keep your weight under control. If those changes aren’t working, your doctor can make some recommendations for losing weight safely.