Prevention starts with understanding your health and setting goals, then gradually making changes to achieve long-term success. Even if diabetes runs in your family, you can make lifestyle choices to help delay its onset and prevent serious complications.
There are seven common risk factors associated with diabetes. While these do not guarantee a diagnosis of diabetes, they are important to consider.
- Obesity - Being overweight or obese increases your risk for diabetes. This is the primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Family History - If you have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you run a higher risk of developing the condition.
- Inactive Lifestyle - Because muscles cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells, regular exercise can decrease insulin resistance. Regular exercise also can help control weight and lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin effectiveness.
- Increasing Age - People over the age of 45 should be tested for type 2 diabetes every three years if results are normal. If results are borderline, the test should be repeated annually.
- Genetics - African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Asians are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- High Blood Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure - The risk of developing diabetes increases if your HDL (good) cholesterol level is under 35 mg/dL or your triglyceride level is over 250 mg/dL. High blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher also increases diabetes risk.
- Gestational Diabetes - Women who developed gestational diabetes when pregnant or gave birth to a baby that weighed more than nine pounds run a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
For people living with diabetes, sugar (or glucose) can be bad if left unchecked. In diabetics, glucose can build up in the blood stream because their bodies do not produce or properly use insulin to process the sugar into energy. This results in a condition is called hyperglycemia, which can result in complications, so it is important to know the symptoms and how to treat the condition. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, or slow-healing sores.
Attend a free diabetes screening at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital on Saturday, August 22nd from 8 to 11 a.m. in the hospital’s Professional Building Classroom located at 11302 Fallbrook Drive to learn more about your risk for developing diabetes. The event will screen to see if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes and includes: blood glucose, blood pressure, weight, and a personal diabetes risk assessment. The screening is free, but appointments are required. Call 800-681-2733 to register today.