Many different aspects of your health affect whether or not you develop diabetes. Some of these factors are outside of your control, including:
Age. If you are over 45, you are at a heightened risk. And up to 20 percent of Americans over age 65 have diabetes.
Heredity. If a parent had diabetes, you are more likely to also develop the disease.
Ethnicity. Various minority groups in the United States are more likely than white Americans to develop diabetes. We do not yet fully understand the reasons why.These groups include:
- African Americans
- Native Americans.
If you fall into one or more of these high-risk groups and have not yet developed diabetes, you should be especially concerned about reducing your risks as much as possible.
If you do already have Type 2 diabetes, you can control the course of your disease and how well you live with it by working to lower your risk factors.
What You Can Do
Although you cannot change your age, heredity or ethnicity, you can control a number of risk factors for developing diabetes, such as:
Various treatments to lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol will help reduce the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. However, the single most important way to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Developing Healthy Habits
Some people have an increased chance – also called a “predisposition” – of getting diabetes due to heredity. Studies have shown that these individuals can lower their risk dramatically by making some sensible lifestyle changes:
Learn more about healthy living below!
If you are overweight, you are at greater risk of becoming insulin resistant. Insulin helps glucose enter your cells where your body uses it for energy. When you have insulin resistance, your cells do not respond to insulin. The glucose stays in your blood, and sooner or later, you will develop diabetes.
Recent studies have shown that nutrition and exercise programs can decrease the development of diabetes in high-risk groups by as much as 71 percent.
When you eat well, lose weight, and begin a regular exercise program, there are bonus benefits. In addition to cutting your risk of developing diabetes, these good lifestyle choices also protect you against a whole host of other diseases and medical conditions, including:
- cardiovascular disease
- various cancers.
And exercise increases your energy and helps you feel great!
Hope Through Research – You Can Be Part of the Answer!
Many research studies are underway to help us learn about eye diseases. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:
- NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
- Diabetes Studies
- NetWellness Research Center
- ClinicalTrials.gov Explained and Find Studies on ClinicalTrials.gov
- ResearchMatch Explained and Join ResearchMatch
More features about Diabetes:
- Diabetes Overview
- Diabetes and the Body: Pancreatic Function
- Symptoms and Tests for Diabetes
- Treatment Options for Diabetics
- Complications of Diabetes
- Diabetes and Heart Disease
For more information:
Go to the Diabetes health topic.