Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

Allison Bush | Nov 8, 2012

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Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise, as the obesity epidemic continues in the U.S. One third of American adults are expected to have the disease by 2050, if this alarming trend continues. There are both genetic and controllable risk factors for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends screening every 3 years, if your over the age of 45. If you’re overweight, you should get more often. Be aware of these diabetes risk factors.

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Overweight or Obese

Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for diabetes. Belly fat is especially risky because it makes it harder for insulin to process glucose in the liver. The fat blocks excess sugar from the liver and causes the glucose to stay in your bloodstream. Losing weight and building muscle are the most preventable steps to avoid diabetes.

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Older than 45

With age comes wisdom and unfortunately the risk for Type 2 Diabetes. If you’re 45 years old or older, be sure to get your blood sugar levels tested every three years.

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Family history

Genetics can play a role in developing Type 2 diabetes. Check your family tree to see if your parents, grand-parents, aunts and uncles have had the disease.

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Ethnic background

Certain ethnic groups are more prone to diabetes than others. African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and some Asians & Pacific Islanders are at a greater risk. Race alone is not a cause, but if you have other factors (like weight, smoking, family history) be more aware.

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Stub out the cigarette. Smoking increases your risk to diabetes. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, chain smoking can triple your risk for Type 2 in comparison to a non-smoker.

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If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you can still prevent full on Type 2 diabetes. Also known as “impaired glucose tolerance,” pre-diabetes occurs when glucose levels are higher than the ideal healthy norm but not high enough to be diabetes. If your glucose levels are between 100 and 125 mg/dL then you are in the pre-diabetes zone. Even as a pre-diabetic you may be experiencing damage to your heart and circulatory system.

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Diabetes during pregnancy

Having a history of gestational diabetes can increase your chance for developing Type 2 diabetes, especially in the ten years after pregnancy. Gestational diabetes ends after your baby is born, but the health risk remain. Stay active, maintain a healthy post-baby weight, and eat balanced meals to avoid Type 2.

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Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) occurs when there is a hormone imbalance in a woman’s ovaries. PCOS has been linked to high levels of insulin. According to studies, over 50% of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome will develop Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes.

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Inactive lifestyle

Are you on the couch more than on the treadmill? Living an sedentary lifestyle causes weight gain and lead to diabetes. No need to run a marathon. Start small by walking, dancing, swimming - anything that keeps your heart rate going. Aim for at least 20 minutes of activity 3 days a week.

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High blood pressure

High blood pressure is linked to diabetes. Monitor your levels to make sure your blood pressure is below 140/ 90 mmHg. If it’s above that level, then you’re at risk.

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High cholesterol and fat levels

High cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes are related. Make sure you monitor cholesterol and triglyceride fat levels to prevent heart disease. If your triglycerides are more than 250 mg/dL, then you should be concerned. Low levels of HDL (good) Cholesterol, below 35 mg/dL, is a warning sign.