Diabetes affects around 25.8 million people in the United States. An astounding 95% of those with the disease are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are above normal. The body also is not able to use insulin properly. The disease can lead to many severe medical problems, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease vision loss and nerve damage.
Unfortunately many people do not find out they have type 2 diabetes until they begin experiencing more advanced symptoms. But the good news is type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. Understanding the risks of diabetes and living a healthier lifestyle will help decrease your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Who is At Risk?
The exact causes of type 2 diabetes are unknown, however there are a number of key factors to look for when determining whether or not you are at risk. It’s possible that a person with some or all of these risk factors may never develop type 2 diabetes. But studies have shown that the more risk factors a person has, the more likely they are to develop the disease.
Being overweight or obese - Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25.
Age over 45 - Your chances of getting diabetes in your later years are much greater than when you’re young.
A Family History - Your chance of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you have a parent, sibling or other family member with the disease.
High Blood Pressure - Also known as hypertension, type 2 diabetes is found more in people with high blood pressure.
Race or Ethnic Background - Studies have shown that Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans and Asians all have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Living a Sedentary Lifestyle - An example of this risk factor is if you work at a desk all day and get none or very limited physical activity.
Even if you have one, a few or all of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the disease is still preventable. Since obesity is one of the biggest risk factors, lifestyle changes such as eating healthy and getting the recommended amount of physical activity can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Even if you’re not losing weight, exercise and healthy eating are still beneficial for decreasing your risk.
If you have serious concerns about developing type 2 diabetes, you should make an appointment with your doctor in order to discuss more personalized prevention steps.Your doctor may recommend a blood glucose screening to test for diabetes if you’re older than 45 and overweight, or if you’re younger than age 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
At Genesis Medical, we will be happy to answer any questions you might have about your risk of type 2 diabetes. Remember, even if you have any number of the risk factors, type 2 diabetes is preventable. The best way to treat the disease is to keep it from ever happening in the first place.