DiabetesThere is an epidemic occurring on the earth today, and it is estimated to affect more than 380 million people. This epidemic is likely to increase to 592 million by the year 2035. Prevention is the key to slowing and overcoming this epidemic. You can prevent or delay this disease by staying at a healthy weight, eating well, and being active. With those three steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of contracting this disease. If you do contract this disease and it is left unchecked, it can lead to heart attack or stroke, blindness, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and amputation.

Approximately 26 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States. Out of that number, nearly 95% have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, such as overweight and physically inactivity. While progress has been made in understanding the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes, the details of how adverse lifestyles combine with genetic risk to determine risk of developing type 2 diabetes are uncertain.

Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people. There are a number of risk factors that increase a person’s risk for developing prediabetes and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes. You can modify some risk factors, but others are non-modifiable.

Risk factors that you cannot change are as follows:

  • Family history
  • Race or ethnic background
  • Age
  • History of gestational diabetes

Some risk factors that you can control and modify are:

  • Overweight/obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • bnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels

By making healthy changes in these areas, people can reduce their risks or delay the development of diabetes, slow the epidemic, and improve their overall quality of life. To learn more about diabetes and risk factors, visit the American Diabetes Foundation.

What life change has helped you control your diabetes?