Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to maintain normal levels of blood glucose using a hormone known as insulin. Currently, more than 100 million people in the U.S. are diabetic or prediabetic. If this trend continues, almost 1 in every 3 people will have this condition (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Moreover, diabetic and pre-diabetes patients are more prone to heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems than other individuals.
1. What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?
- Overweight and obesity: The more fatty tissues, the more chances for type II diabetes
- Inactivity: Onadequate physical activity leads to overweight that causes type II diabetes.
- Smoking: Smokers are susceptible to type 2 diabetes, and non-smokers more immune to heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses
- The family history of diabetes is associated with a high risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Pregnancy onset diabetes (gestational diabetes) increases risk of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome that is characterized by the erratic menstrual cycle, obesity, and excess hair growth is also a risk factor for type II diabetes.
What is the first step to preventing diabetes?
- Always observe for type 2 diabetes symptoms, and these include: increase thirst and hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, headaches, blurred vision.
What are the best strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes?
You may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by doing the following:
- Lose excess weight by balancing food intake and physical exercise. A 5% to 10% reduction in weight significantly lowers the risk of type II diabetes and substantially improves one’s health status.
- Stay active for at least 30 minutes daily to prevent excess weight gain and reduce fatty tissues. A relatively high-paced walk with no extra gymnastics per day is an adequate physical activity to maintain a healthy body.
- Avoid sedentary behaviors such as physical inactivity, continuous watching of television, and prolonged sitting sessions.
- Adopt health-conscious diets and behaviors to avoid being overweight and to counteract other food-related risk factors for type II diabetes. To achieve this goal, one needs well-balanced meals that contain the following items.
- A variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Diverse sources protein that includes seafood, white lean meat, poultry eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, namely milk, yogurt and cheese, and soy milk
- Nut-based oils such as olives and avocados
What other dietary measures are effective to prevent type 2 diabetes?
- Limit daily consumption of meat, sweets, and refined grains.
- Avoid sweetened drinks such as soda and juice.
- Maintain the recommended portion sizes in every meal by filling the plate with ¼ grains, ¼ protein, ½ fruits, and Additionally, consume six to eight glasses of water daily.
- Always consume a high-fiber diet to enhance digestion, facilitate weight management, and control blood sugars.
- Limit the amount of alcohol to reduce the risk of type II diabetes and heart diseases. The recommended daily liquor intake for men is two drinks, but women should ingest half that amount.
Are there tests for type 2 diabetes?
- Three different tests for type 2 diabetes are available. However, your primary care provider will determine whether one test is adequate to confirm an individual’s diabetic status.
Please feel free to contact us for any questions, comments, or concerns. Importantly, discuss with your primary care provider about testing for type 2 diabetes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html
Chia-Hui Neilly, NP-C
Nurse Practitioner at Barry Community Health Center