November is American Diabetes Month, an opportunity to learn more about this condition that impacts nearly 30 million Americans and understand what you can do to prevent it.
- Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body doesn’t properly use glucose for energy
- In diabetics, glucose builds up in the blood; if left untreated, this can lead to serious health issues like glaucoma and nerve damage
- Making healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
Understand your risk
The cause of type 2 diabetes is not completely understood, but there are certain factors that can put you at risk.
- Excess weight, including being overweight or obese
- Age 40 or older
- Family history of diabetes, specifically a parent, brother or sister
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of exercise
- Unhealthy diet
- Previous or existing medical conditions, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome or cardiovascular disease
Take action now!
Changing these lifestyle factors can not only help you lower your risk of diabetes—they can also help you be healthier in general.
- Lose weight. Being overweight or obese is the leading cause of diabetes. Aim to lose weight through healthy eating and exercise. Even losing just a few pounds can help!
- Be active. Keep moving as much as you can and reduce your time spent sitting. Aim to exercise 150 minutes a week—walking can be a great exercise to start with. Talk to your doctor first if you are new to exercise.
- Eat better. Follow a balanced meal plan that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and other high-fiber foods. Eat consistent, moderate amounts of food at regular intervals. Limit added sugars.
- Quit tobacco. People who quit smoking reduce their risk of diabetes by over 50%!
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member, call your Personal Health Advocate for help scheduling time with your doctor to discuss any potential diabetes risk factors and a plan to address them. If you have access to Wellness Coaching, your coach can help you incorporate exercise and healthy diet changes into your daily routine to help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.