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Diabetes Doesn’t Have To Be Inevitable

Raspberry above a pile of sugar held by a spoon

In 2010, diabetes was the cause of 69,071 deaths according to the Center for Disease Control. Diabetes is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, but it can be prevented. A number of things play a role in whether someone will develop type 2 diabetes, but read on to see what you can do to lower your chances.

In all my research, it seems there is a common thread in ways to prevent (or delay) the development of type 2 diabetes. All the recommendations seem to go back to the following things: eat less and move more. The Center for Disease Control states, “Research studies have found that moderate weight loss and exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among adults at high-risk of diabetes.”

One of the easiest ways to “eat less” is to reduce your portion sizes. Portion sizes in America are out of control, so if we learned to eat proper portions, we would likely be better off. An easy guideline to follow is that your plate should be: ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates/grains and ½ fruits and vegetables. You can also drink a glass of water before your meal and focus on eating slowly, these things can help you to eat less at each meal as well.

There are a number of ways you can increase your activity level in your every-day life. The National Diabetes Education program recommends that you “try to be active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Walking is a great way to get started and you can do it almost anywhere at any time.” In addition to walking, you can put on music and dance while cleaning or even walk in place or lift small weights while watching television.

The Center for Disease Control lists the following as risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes:
*Being overweight or obese,
*Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes,
*Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage
*Having a prior history of gestational diabetes or birth of at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
*Having high blood pressure (140/90 or higher).
*Having abnormal cholesterol with HDL (“good”) cholesterol is 35 or lower, or triglyceride level is 250 or higher.
*Being physically inactive—exercising fewer than three times a week.

Some of these factors are completely out of our control, while others we have the power to change. Make changes now to start lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you think you’ve already developed diabetes, consult your doctor to see what your options are, in some cases type 2 diabetes can be reversed with some major lifestyle changes.