9 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the number of adults in the United States diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years. Type 2 diabetes — which used to be known as adult onset diabetes — is most often diagnosed in people over the age of 45, but an increasing number of children and adolescents are developing type 2 diabetes.

There is no cure for diabetes, and the exact causes of insulin resistance are unknown. However, there are environmental factors that contribute to a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes. While there are contributing factors beyond a person’s control, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

30 million Americans have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Learn what you can do to help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Click To Tweet

Drink more water

Replacing sugary drinks like sodas, juice, and sports drinks with water can help you manage a healthy  diet and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. The calories from your beverages count, too. Added sugar provides extra calories without adding nutritional value.

Eat a healthy diet

Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate at each meal. Replace unhealthy convenience foods, junk food, and ultraprocessed foods with nutritious and healthy options like fruit, vegetables, nuts, lean protein, and low fat dairy. It’s also important to eat the right portion sizes.

Don’t smoke

Tobacco use causes a wide range of health problems. Smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Smokers are also more likely to be overweight or obese and live sedentary lifestyles.

Move more

You need physical activity every single day. Physical inactivity and sedentary living increase your risk for diabetes. Regular physical activity and exercise helps you manage a healthy weight, increases your overall health, and helps lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Maintain a healthy weight

One of the biggest type 2 diabetes risk factors that you can control is your weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. However, you can still develop the disease even if you’re at a healthy weight.

Recognize signs of high blood sugar and low blood sugar

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to metabolize sugar and regulate blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) can both cause symptoms.

  • High blood sugar may cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, accelerated heart rate, difficulty breathing, increased thirst, frequent urination, and dry mouth.
  • Low blood sugar may cause fatigue, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, lightheadedness, sweating, disorientation, difficulty speaking, and hunger.

Talk to your primary care provider if you frequently experience these symptoms.

Know your family health history

Everyone should be mindful of lifestyle habits that contribute to type 2 diabetes. However, this is especially important for people with a family history of diabetes. 75% of children with type 2 diabetes have a close relative with diabetes.

Understanding your risk for the disease can help you take steps to stay ahead of it.

Start healthy habits and set an example

Making healthy meal choices and regular physical activity normal parts of daily life makes it easier to stick with healthy choices. The earlier that you start making healthy lifestyle choices, the easier it is to continue making them. Teach your children the importance of physical activity and healthy eating, and establish healthy choices at a young age.

Talk to your doctor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out 4 Americans with diabetes don’t realize that they have it, and 90% of U.S. adults with prediabetes don’t realize that they have prediabetes. Diabetes doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, and it can go unnoticed for years.

A blood sugar test can determine if you have diabetes. Talk to your primary care provider if you have questions or concerns about your risk for diabetes. Request an appointment with a doctor in Northwest Arkansas today.