10 Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

More than 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes – with the vast majority being the type 2 version, which is characterized by insulin resistance. Most cases of type 2 diabetes are completely preventable with small lifestyle changes. Read on to discover 10 steps you can take to lower your risk of developing this chronic, debilitating disease.

Lose excess weight

Being overweight puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For every 2.2 pounds, you lose, however, your risk of developing the disease decreases by 16%. Moderate your portion sizes, move more, and talk to the doctors at Family Medical Clinic to learn about other steps that support weight loss.

Drink water

When you’re thirsty, reach for good old water instead of sugary drinks. Research shows a correlation between soda consumption and the development of type 2 diabetes. If you want flavor, go for unsweetened tea or coffee, or sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime juice.

Be physically active

A sedentary lifestyle contributes to your risk of developing diabetes. When you exercise, your cells are more sensitive to insulin – reducing insulin resistance. Aim for the minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you can do more, great!

Decrease your stress levels

When you’re stressed, you release hormones, such as cortisol, that increases your blood sugar levels. Find ways to reduce your stress load by delegating at work, taking on fewer obligations, meditating and doing yoga, or using other self-care methods.

Minimize processed carbs

Refined carbohydrates, such as those found in white bread and sugary sweets, quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Eat more whole grains and carbohydrates from foods with ample fiber, such as sweet potatoes and fresh fruits.

Improve your sleep

Sleeping too little or experiencing poor quality sleep correlates with weight gain and the onset of type 2 diabetes. Get the recommended seven to nine hours a night, every night. Keeping your bedroom cool and dark and going to bed and rising at similar times each day helps keep your sleep consistent and strong. If you have problems with snoring and frequent awakening, check with the doctors about the possibility that you have sleep apnea, which can also raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes if gone unmanaged.

Eat your greens

Research shows that increasing your intake of leafy greens decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This may be due to the fiber and antioxidants in these vegetables and because they crowd out poor choices such as refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and sugar.

Check in for regular doctor visits

Regular doctor visits help you stay alert to small changes in your health that may signal you’re on your way to developing full-on type 2 diabetes. If you take steps that improve your health when you’re diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, you can avoid developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions, such as heart disease.

Quit smoking

Smoking raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The more cigarettes you smoke daily, the greater your risk. Smoking raises the levels of inflammation in your body, which makes you vulnerable to diabetes. Ask the doctors at Family Medical Clinic for tips on how to kick the habit.

Moderate alcohol intake

Stick to just one drink per day if you’re a woman, or two drinks per day if you’re a man. Heavy drinking can trigger type 2 diabetes by reducing your sensitivity to insulin. Type 2 diabetes can also develop in response to chronic pancreatitis caused by alcoholism or excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories and contributes to weight gain, which further increases your risk of developing the disease.

These steps can help you stay healthy and avoid type 2 diabetes. If you should develop the condition, trust the staff at Family Medical Clinic to help you manage it for the long-term.

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