Diabetes: Small Changes to Reduce Risk

Diabetes-BannerFor many of us, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are a very serious concern. However, there are simple practices that can help reduce your risks. 

What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a dangerous disease, and one that can be a challenge to manage. It can lead to heart and kidney disease, blindness and many other health conditions.

Am I at risk?
Pre-diabetes is when blood glucose levels or Hemoglobin A1C levels are above normal, but not high enough to be in the diabetic range. An estimated 79 million people ages 20 and older are pre-diabetic. You may have a risk for type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Exercise fewer than three times each week
  • Have high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Have a history of heart disease

Small changes, big rewards.
Pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can often be prevented. It does not require a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. Research shows that reducing your body weight by 5 to 10 percent, or 10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds, can cut your diabetes risk in half. Weight loss can also delay the onset of diabetes. The trick to long-lasting weight loss is a healthy diet and regular exercise.

What’s the best way to exercise?
Find something you enjoy. You are likely to stick with your exercise routine if it involves your hobbies or passions: anything from shooting hoops to dancing—even gardening. And any activity that includes friends or family adds valuable quality time and reinforces healthy living in our personal communities.

How can I make eating better a habit?
Most healthy diet guidelines are becoming common knowledge, but putting them in practice can be difficult. For many American’s, we’re simply eating too much with over 20 percent of the calories we consume coming from beverages alone. Try cutting back your portion sizes and substituting water or zero-calorie drinks for soda.

Hummus-and-VegFollowing a Mediterranean-style diet may further help to curb diabetes.

Eating Mediterranean-style can contribute to weight loss—and may even help reduce diabetes risk in people who don’t lose weight. A Mediterranean diet features:

  • Lots of plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains.
  • Mono-unsaturated fats, especially olive or canola oil.
  • Low or moderate amounts of fish, poultry and dairy products.
  • Very little red meat.
  • Low amounts of saturated fats and trans fat, which are often present in processed foods.
  • Low or moderate amounts of red wine.