How to Decrease Your Chances of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Photo credit: warondiabetes.org

The number of people with diabetes has quadrupled from 1980 to 2014. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be 700 million diagnosed with diabetes.

“1 out of every 3 adults in the United States could have diabetes by 2050.” — CDC

While this study included both Type 1 and Type 2, Type 2 diabetes makes up 90–95% of the population of those with diabetes. The risk factors for Type 1 include family history and genetics. For Type 2 diabetes, much of the factors are the same, but also included are weight, activity level, and fat distribution.

Type 2 diabetes is a high concern — it’s a multifactorial disease. Many other health problems can arise from this disease such as blindness, heart attacks, strokes, and colon cancer, to name a few. It is also — for the most part — a preventable disease. Therefore, we must do what we can to decrease your own chance, and of course a friend’s, a family member’s, a neighbor’s, a coworker’s, and everyone else’s chance of developing this disease.

Here are some ways to decrease your risk (see sources below & ***):

  1. Take shorter naps. Studies have shown that naps of longer than an hour increase a person’s chance of developing Type 2 by 46%. Instead: keep naps 30 min or shorter. Oftentimes, 10–15 min can be enough to increase alertness.
  2. Quit smoking/Don’t Start. How: Talk to someone you trust and develop a plan for quitting, as well as a strategy. Know the benefits of quitting.
  3. Increase Your Physical Activity. How: enroll in a fitness class, such as Zumba, cycling, join a sport, try yoga…or simply head to the gym or go outside and see what interests you! Aim for 150 min each week.
  4. Stand up! Why: Even if you exercise a great deal, sitting for extended periods of time will offset this gain. Aim to stand every 20 min and walk around for two minutes. There are great apps out there (personally, I use StandApp, which shows a reminder on my laptop to, well, stand up!)
  5. Avoid processed meats. Why:

“…about a 20 to 30 percent increase [Type 2 diabetes] in risk for each 2-ounce daily serving, equal to about one regular hot dog.” — American Cancer Research Institute

6. Be Wary of What You Consume. How: The nutrition labels on foods is your best friend in this case. While the front of a package may tell you one story, the nutrition facts are your best chance of avoiding a company’s food psych manipulation on you. Avoid empty calories, foods with numerous types of sugar, high sodium, saturated fats, and so on. By reading the nutrition labels, you are forcing yourself to think critically about your food choices. Eat in color (fruits & vegetables)!

Photo Credit: thegardian.com

7. Consider Your Alcohol Consumption. Why: Excessive alcohol consumption (binging) may increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. A study has shown that moderation may decrease your risk for diabetes, but more studying must be done since there are many factors and variables to be considered.

8. Visit Your Doctor. Why: If you have a family member and/or you have symptoms/risk factors, then getting a blood test may be a suitable option for you. *Note: Ask your doctor if you’re at risk for diabetes and whether a blood test is a good option for you.

9. If You Already Have Diabetes… What you can do: most of everything above! Maintain or increase physical exercise, be conscious of what you’re eating, regularly visit your physician, keep your blood sugar levels in check, etc. *Always ask your doctor what is best for your situation.

  • **In no capacity do I consider myself certified to provide medical advice. Only a trained professional may do so.

Let’s improve the healthy of everyone around us…and us too! Be a healthier you.

References & Further Reading:

General facts: mayoclinic.org

2015, 1. B. (2015, September 18). Hour-long afternoon naps may increase risk of diabetes. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11872199/Why-power-naps-may-be-bad-for-your-health.html

ADA. (2014, April 18). Smoking. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/smoking.html

Baliunas, D. O., Taylor, B. J., Irving, H., Roerecke, M., Patra, J., Mohapatra, S., & Rehm, J. (2009). Alcohol as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care, 32(11), 2123–2132. doi:10.2337/dc09–0227

Brazier, Y. (2016, April 7). Global levels of diabetes soar, says biggest ever study. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308755.php

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes Report Card 2014. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2015.

Collins, K., MS, RDN, CDN. (2014, June 23). Processed-Meats-Diabetes-Risk. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.aicr.org/press/health-features/health-talk/2014/jun14/Processed-Meats-Diabetes-Risk.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Gebel, E. (2013, May). Stand Up for Health: Sitting Too Much Does Harm. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2013/may/stand-up-for-health-sitting-too-much-does-harm.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Mendes, E. (2014, March 14). Diabetes and Colon Cancer: An Emerging Link. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.cancer.org/research/acsresearchupdates/coloncancer/diabetes-and-colon-cancer-an-emerging-link

Pinola, M. (2012, July 24). For The Best Benefits, Take an Ultra-Brief Nap. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://lifehacker.com/5928593/for-the-best-benefits-take-an-ultra-brief-nap

Robb, B. (2009, July 1). How Much Exercise Is Enough? Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/basics/how-much-exercise-do-i-need.aspx

Smoking. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/smoking.html

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