How to Lower Your Risk of Diabetes
About 18.2 million Americans have diabetes and, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States in the year 2000 and about 90 to 95 percent of all cases of diabetes are Type 2, the type that can sometimes be prevented.
If you weigh more than your ideal weight, have a family history of diabetes, are a Native American, Hispanic American, African American, Pacific Islander or if you are a woman who had a baby weighing more than 8 pounds at birth, you should pay more attention to the following tips because you have a greater risk for developing diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that lifestyle changes in diet and exercise and losing a little weight can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes if you are at high risk.
Weight loss. Obesity is the single most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Between 80% and 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Just by losing 10% of your weight you can help your body work more efficiently and reduce your risk of diabetes.
More exercise and less TV. Exercise helps lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes in two different ways. First, it helps to lose weight, which cuts the risk. Secondly, exercise improves insulin sensitivity, allowing the cells of your body to use its own insulin better.
A recent study reports that viewing TV more than 14 hours a week increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. It was also reported that exercising a total of 2.5 hours a week or more was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in both sexes.
But you don't need to go to an expensive gym; research shows that taking a brisk half-hour walk every day can decrease a person's risk of developing diabetes regardless of their weight. You can also try to walk 10,000 steps a day and use a pedometer, or maybe you would like to try one of those 30 minute workouts, like the one at Curves for Woman. It doesn't matter what you do, just get off the couch and move!
Your goal must be to exercise 4 to 6 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes each time. Just remember that if you haven't exercised for a while, you should talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Independently of the weight, a diet high in fat, calories and cholesterol increases your risk of diabetes. In addition, this diet can lead to obesity (another risk factor for diabetes) and other health problems.
Smoking. According to a new study, smoking raises the risk of developing diabetes. So, if you smoke, this is another great reason to quit.
Sleep. Researchers report that sleeping for less than six hours or for more than nine hours each night, is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. If you don't sleep well, you should ask your doctor for a way to help you get enough sleep.
Depression. A history of depression increases the risk of developing diabetes in younger adults.
Happiness. In a recent study that looked at the link between how we feel and the biological processes related to illness, researchers found that well-being and happiness may help us lower the risk for developing different illnesses, including diabetes.
Medications. There are no drugs available to prevent diabetes; however, lifestyle changes and treatment with metformin reduced the incidence of diabetes in persons at high risk. The interesting finding was that lifestyle intervention was more effective than metformin. Also, researchers report that the use of any angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) for high blood pressure treatment will reduce a patient's risk of diabetes. There is another report about the insulin sensitizer Avandia(R) (rosiglitazone maleate) which may reduce the risk for developing diabetes and diabetes-related cardiovascular disease.
Following a healthy and active lifestyle is the key to lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Of course, it is easier said than done. If you are willing to make healthy changes in your lifestyle and you feel like it's something very hard to achieve, you should seek the help of a counselor. Many behavior change techniques and strategies are known to be successful, especially cognitive-behavior therapy.