March 22 Is National Diabetes Day. Here’s How To Reduce Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
March 22 has been established by the ADA – The American Diabetes Association – as National Diabetes day.
The numbers behind type 2 diabetes in the US are nothing short of astonishing. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes – nearly 10% of the population. And the scariest part is that 1 in 4 of these people don’t know that they have the disease, putting them at risk of deadly complications.
The numbers behind prediabetes – those who are at risk of developing type 2 Diabetes – are even more astounding. Nearly 86 million Americans aged 20 or older have prediabetes, and are at risk of developing the disease.
In an effort to raise awareness about diabetes, its preponderance among Americans, and methods by which you can reduce your risk, the ADA has put together a comprehensive and informative platform with plenty of information about diabetes, risk factors, and ways you can mitigate your risk of diabetes.
If you’re curious about common risk factors and how to reduce your chances of developing diabetes, read on. We’ll discuss several common risk factors for diabetes, and how you can reduce your risk of developing this terrible disease.
Risk Factors For Diabetes
- Weight – Being overweight is one of the single biggest risk factors for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. When your body develops more fatty tissue, its ability to process insulin is lessened, and it becomes more resistant to the effects of insulin.
- Inactivity – Inactivity is another big risk factor for developing diabetes. Simple being skinny doesn’t mean that you aren’t at risk for diabetes – if you’re inactive, you’re still at risk. Physical activity allows your body to use up its glucose energy stores, control its weight more effectively, and makes the cells in your body more sensitive to insulin.
- Family History Of Type 2 Diabetes – Even if you’re in great health, there are genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes. If your sibling, a parent, or another relative has developed type 2 diabetes, you may have a higher risk yourself – though taking the appropriate precautionary measures will greatly reduce your risk of contracting prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
- Race – Scientists don’t quite know why yet, but it seems that people of several races are more susceptible to diabetes. Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian-Americans have been known to have a higher risk of developing the disease.
- High Blood Pressure – A blood pressure of over 140/90 is linked to a higher susceptibility of developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, the specific link between the two is unknown, but it’s thought to be a combination of obesity, diets high in fats and sodium, and prolonged inactivity.
What Can I Do To Mitigate My Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes?
- Understand Your Current Risk – First, you should consult your doctor to see if you are currently at risk of contracting prediabetes, and get an idea of your overall health. Just because you’re a nurse doesn’t mean you’re superhuman – you can get sick and be at risk for diseases too. So take the time to get yourself checked out, and understand your current risk factors.
- Eat Right – High-sodium, high-fat diets have been associated with type 2 diabetes. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber foods like oatmeal and other whole grains can help you reduce the amount of fat and sodium that you consume, and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Get Active – This doesn’t mean you have to go to some fancy exercise class or join a new gym. Being active can be as simple as walking. Walking alone can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, as well as a host of other inactivity-related diseases.
- Watch Your Weight – A few extra pounds won’t send you over the edge, but excess body fat is a large risk factor for diabetes, as it suppresses the body’s ability to process insulin.
- Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption – Okay, us nurses don’t usually get a chance to cut loose – but even when you do go out, try to limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol can lead to weight gain, higher blood pressure, and higher triglyceride levels – all issues that can affect your propensity for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Don’t Smoke – Nearly half a million nurses in the US are smokers. It’s very ironic – after all, we’ve seen first hand what smoking does to a person. Alongside lung damage, cancer, increased risks of stroke and heart attack, smoking doubles your chance of contracting diabetes. If you’re a smoker, try to quit this habit or at least start minimizing your smoking sessions extensively as a starting point.
Stay Informed, Stay Active, And Share Your Knowledge!
Maybe you’re not at risk of developing diabetes – but somebody you know is.
This National Diabetes Day, you should talk to them about their habits, their risks, and how they can reduce them. It may be a tough conversation, but it’s one worth having.
Everyone should know about the risk of type 2 diabetes – that’s what the ADA wants, and that is the exactly the reason behind why March 22 is such an important day.
So learn, share your knowledge, and spread it – it’s only through knowledge that we can defeat diabetes. For more information about diabetes, visit the ADA’s website today at Diabetes.org