According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 371 million people have diabetes, and about half of them are not aware of it. A greater majority of diabetics (I saw one figure that says 90%) have Type 2 diabetes. The number is expected to rise in the coming years.
If you have not yet been caught in this net called Type 2 diabetes, the first step in avoidance is knowing you are at risk, so you can do something about it.
There are several risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes. These include:
- Having family history of diabetes
- Being 40 years or older
- Being overweight
- Being physically inactive
- Coming from certain ethnic groups: Asians, Hispanics, blacks and American Indians are at higher risk.
If you are at risk, you can try to slow down, if not prevent, the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Here are some steps you can take:
- If you are overweight, losing weight helps. Start with achievable weight loss goals.
- If you are physically inactive, start exercising. Choose an activity that you like to do. If you haven’t been active in a long time, take things slowly and check with your doctor first.
- Get your A1c and fasting blood glucose tested annually. This will give you an idea if you are developing Type 2 diabetes and would need early intervention.
- Review your diet to see if it needs changing. This is a good time to cut down on junk food (which is high in calories, high in carbohydrates, high in trans fat, and low in nutrients).
Please consult the IDF’s web page for prevention, as well as other diabetes websites for other ideas and suggestions.
Being at risk does not necessarily mean you will develop diabetes. You can intervene to minimize it. But if you do develop Type 2 diabetes, remember: it is controllable.