By: Mission Healthy Living
March 26, 2019
Roughly 9.4% of the U.S. population is affected by diabetes, with Type 2 diabetes being its most common form. With Type 2 diabetes, a person’s body does not make or use insulin properly, causing blood sugar to rise higher than normal. Left undetected or unmanaged, Type 2 diabetes can damage your eyes, kidneys, teeth, and feet. It can even cause nerve damage and strokes.
On American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day®, the American Diabetes Association encourages people to understand their risk of diabetes.
Here are the main characteristics that can lead to Type 2 diabetes:
- Family history of diabetes, especially if your mother had gestational diabetes
- Being African American, Hispanic, Latino, American Indian, Alaskan, Pacific Islander, or Asian
- A need to lose weight and/or be more active
- Being at least 65 years old (25% of people over 65 are affected)
To delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes, the CDC recommends the following actions:
- Lose weight. More importantly, keep it off.
- Add more activity to your daily routines. For example, walk for 30 minutes five days a week.
- Improve your food choices (with recipes like Meat Lover's Breakfast Cups and Marinated Grilled Chicken with Zucchini). Be careful with “crash diets,” as you could regain the lost weight once the diet ends.
- Involve the whole family. Changes are easier to make as a group. Setting a good example for the younger generation can help them over time.
- If any of the above feel overwhelming, change one behavior a week. This can lead to a larger lifestyle change that decreases your risk of diabetes.
Many adults have diabetes and don’t even know it—presenting a danger to their health. If you’re concerned about your risk, talk to your doctor. Even if you’ve been tested before, your risk can change over time.
You can also take the Diabetes Risk Test (need to enable pop-ups) on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website.