There are several types of diabetes, but the most common are referred to as Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is often called juvenile-onset diabetes, as it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. People suffering with Type 1 Diabetes can not create enough insulin of their own and require insulin injections daily.
Type 2 Diabetes is the disease that has become an epidemic in recent years in the western world. It is estimated that 90% of diabetes sufferers have Type 2 Diabetes. The good news is that you can do a great deal to prevent yourself becoming a victim of the epidemic. We list the risk factors below and offer some options for beating them.
Risk Factor #1: Sedentary Lifestyle.
If you do not move much in your life you are at a much higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes. This means being a couch potato or being stuck at a desk all day can put you in danger. Regular exercise will take the excess glucose out of your blood stream and send it to your muscles where it is required and is burned up. Exercise will also help with some of the other risk factors we will discuss below, like excess weight and poor sleep.
Risk Factor #2: Obesity
Obesity is the main reason that type 2 Diabetes has become such a major disease in the western world. Too much food and sugar produces too much glucose and being overweight may also make your cells resist the hormone insulin. So you need to lose weight if you are overweight and maintain a healthy body weight no matter what your current weight is. Please check our article 7 Ways to lose weight and improve your Cholesterol Level for help with weight control.
Risk Factor #3: Not being tested
A blood glucose test will tell if you have diabetes or a condition known as prediabetes. Prediabetes is when you have high levels of glucose in your blood, but not high enough to be classed as diabetes. It is a great warning sign, because you still have the opportunity to prevent yourself developing full blown diabetes.
Risk Factor #4: Lack of Sleep
Most people suffer sleep problems at some time during their lifetime, so we are all familiar with the effects, lack of energy, grumpiness and frustration. But even worse than those, lack of enough sleep can cause your body to release hormones that can cause insulin resistance and lead to weight gain. If you are having any problems with sleep, please check out our article How to sleep Better.
Risk Factor #5: Bad Diet
Most people do not get enough fruit and vegetables and those are key in battling diabetes, especially leafy green vegetables. We have all heard the 5 and 2 rule for fruit and vegetables but people fail to follow it and this can lead to diabetes. For more help with improving your diet check out our article 7 Ways to Lose weight and Improve Your Cholesterol Level
Risk Factor #6: Too Much Stress
We all live with stress in our lives, whether it comes from work, family issues, money issues or whatever, it really is not good for your health in so many ways. Too much stress can increase your risk of diabetes. Those same insulin resisting hormones that are released when you lack sleep are also released when you have too much stress. Stress can also lead to other diabetes triggers like lack of sleep, bad diet and depression. For help with managing stress and other mental health risks check out our article 7 Tips for Good Mental Health
Risk Factor #7: Drinking Too Much Sugar
There is way too much sugar in almost all packaged drinks. Not just colas and all those big brand name soft drinks that are advertised so much, but also fruit juice, iced teas and all those coffee and other flavoured milk drinks. The energy drinks that are so popular these days are also full of more sugar than you would believe. Many people forget to count the sugar in their drinks when they are otherwise watching their weight. For best results, replace as many of these types of drinks as you can with plain water.
Risk Factor #8: High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, is not really a risk factor for Diabetes but more often a symptom of Diabetes. The two diseases have many things in common, both can be caused by obesity and lack of exercise and unfortunately both could kill you. High blood pressure strongly increases your chances of a heart attack or stroke. Fortunately most of the things that we discuss here for reducing the risk of Diabetes will also reduce your risk of high blood pressure. But do have your blood pressure checked regularly and make sure you keep it in the right range.
Risk Factor #9: Depression
Depression is all too common in modern society, statistics say it will affect 1 in 3 of us in our lifetime, but as many people still see a stigma in admitting depression, the figures are probably higher. Much like stress and sleep disorders unhelpful hormones can be secreted when you are depressed. Depression can also lead to a lack of exercise, poor diet and poor sleep patterns. Once again our article 7 Tips for Good Mental Health can be helpful if you think that you may be depressed.
Risk Factor #10: You’re Age
Sadly, like most things, your risk of diabetes becomes higher as we age. Over the age of 45 your metabolism will slow down and the chances of putting on weight are higher, your muscle mass will reduce and those factors increase the chances of diabetes. The only solution is to watch your diet and ensure that you take plenty of exercise.
Risk Factor #11: It?s in Your Genes
If members of your family have diabetes, your chances of getting it are distinctly higher. Diabetes is also more prevalent in some ethnic groups. If your hereditary is Black, Hispanic, Asian or from the Pacific Islands you have a higher chance of getting diabetes than Caucasians. But being genetically predisposed to Diabetes does not necessarily mean you have to develop the disease. Watching your weight and diet can still reduce your risk significantly.