7 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Diabetes


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Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in America. Although it can be difficult to prevent diabetes, many steps can be taken to reduce your chances of developing this condition. If you want to live a longer, healthier life, here's what you need to know.

What are the Types of Diabetes?

The three main types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational. Here's how they differ:

Type 1 Diabetes - An Autoimmune Disorder

This occurs most often during childhood or adolescence. The pancreas does not make insulin, the hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into the body's cells, where it can be used for energy. Instead of being transported to the cells, sugar builds up in the blood, causing various symptoms.

Type 2 Diabetes - A Lifestyle Disease

This is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all cases in the United States. The pancreas still makes insulin, but the body does not respond to it as well as it should. Type 2 diabetes is associated with lifestyle factors such as being overweight and lack of exercise.

Gestational Diabetes - A Temporary Pregnancy-induced Illness

This occurs in about 4% of all pregnancies. Women with gestational diabetes have blood sugar levels that are too high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. During pregnancy, this is caused by hormones and placenta factors that block the action of insulin in the mother's body and can affect the baby's developing pancreas. If this type of diabetes goes untreated during pregnancy, the child has a higher chance of having obesity or Type 2 diabetes later in life.

What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk of Developing Diabetes?

Although it is not an easy disease to prevent, there are many steps you can take to lower your risk of developing diabetes. Here are seven simple that will reduce your risk of diabetes in the future:

1) Get a yearly checkup from your doctor

This includes blood sugar levels and general measurements, such as height, weight, and waist circumference. And if you're feeling under the weather, don't wait until you're debilitated before you go to the nearest urgent care center to get treated. This could be a matter of living with a chronic illness, such as diabetes.

2) Monitor your weight

If you are overweight or obese (obese is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher), you can lower your risk of developing diabetes by getting to a healthy weight. Although this is easier said than done, many strategies can be used to achieve this goal.

3) Keep moving

If you sit on the couch all day, you will increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Make sure to keep moving and participate in some form of daily activity. This means going for a walk or jog, riding your bike to work, or swimming regularly.

4) Maintain a healthy diet

Eating foods high in sugar or saturated fats can put you at an increased risk for diabetes and other diseases. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and whole grains. Plus, if you have a sweet tooth, try to limit your intake of sweets, so you don't increase your risk of diabetes.

5) Manage stress

Stress can significantly impact your health and is yet another risk factor for developing diabetes. If you feel incredibly stressed, take some time for yourself and practice some stress management techniques. This means making sure you get plenty of sleep, taking at least one day off in the middle of your workweek to spend time with family and friends, and participating in other relaxing activities such as yoga.

6) Check your family history

If you have a family history of diabetes, you are more likely to develop the disease. Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels at home and have them checked by a doctor more often if they are elevated. Also, if you notice any symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination or extreme thirst, make sure to visit a doctor right away.

7) Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake

Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes, so it's essential to quit if you currently smoke. Limiting your alcohol intake to one drink or less per day will also lower the risk of developing diabetes. So, if you currently drink, always do it in moderation.

Although there is no way to prevent a person from developing diabetes completely, these seven simple steps will help reduce the risk of developing this chronic illness. And if you already have diabetes, these tips can help keep your blood sugar levels in check and prevent further complications.

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