Being "at risk" means that you have a greater likelihood of developing a problem or condition than the average person. Sometimes knowing that you are at increased risk gives you the opportunity to avoid the problem. This is the case with diabetes.
We don't yet know what causes type 2 diabetes, but we do know who is most likely to develop it.
Who is at risk for having developing type 2 diabetes?
- ALL overweight adults and adolescents
- Plus anyone with one or more of the following:
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- High blood fats (also called 'lipids'), such as high cholesterol or triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- High calorie, high fat diet
- Little or no physical activity
- History of gestational diabetes (diabetes of pregnancy)
- History of giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Having skin changes where the skin (especially around the back of the neck and underarms) becomes darker and velvety - called acanthosis nigricans or "AN"
- Being Native American or Alaska Native
- Modern life has added to the increase in the number of people being overweight because they are not physically active
- There has been a decrease in such daily activities such as farming, hunting, gathering, gardening, walking
- Being overweight increases blood sugar
- This is why people with diabetes are asked to lose weight
- Daily physical activity combined with healthy eating can lower body weight and lower blood sugar
- In many people as the weight goes up, the blood sugar goes up: from normal to pre-diabetes to diabetes
- If you already have diabetes, the higher your weight, the higher the blood sugar is likely to be, unless you manage your diabetes well
- To control your weight increase your physical activity every day and ask a nutritionist to help you with your diet
- Will raise your blood sugar
- Will increase your weight
- Ask your health care provider to refer you to a nutritionist to evaluate your diet and help you plan a healthier way of eating
Physical activity is one of the most important factors in preventing and managing diabetes.
- Ask your health care provider for an exercise prescription to help you control
- Your blood sugar
- Your blood pressure
- Your cholesterol
- Your weight
- It has been shown that the higher your blood quantum, the more likely you are to develop diabetes. In other words, if you are full-blood, you're more likely to get type 2 diabetes than someone who is only 1/4.
- It is not clear why there is this genetic difference, but one theory is that at one time when food was not always plentiful, the body adjusted for these lean times by storing extra fat for this purpose.
- Physical trauma, like being in a car accident, experiencing physical illness or extreme stress, can also trigger diabetes
- Sometimes emotional trauma or stress from dealing with cancer or other threatening diseases can bring on diabetes
Living healthy can prevent complications
- If the blood sugar is not managed well, it can lead to a number of complications:
- Eye problems, including blindness
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Nerve damage
- Loss of limbs
- Dental problems
The good news is that we now know that a healthy lifestyle:
- Can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes
- Can prevent or delay the complications of type 2 diabetes
- Eat a healthy diet (lean protein, whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies)
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active everyday