Type 2 Diabetes is a very common condition in the United States and around the world. Chances are you or someone you know is affected by type 2 diabetes. It's most common in people who are overweight or obese, physically inactive, or who have a family history of the condition.
But the good news is that making a few healthy lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes!
Lose extra weight
Excess body fat can make the body resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that transports sugar from the bloodstream to cells throughout the body, which need sugar to run. If the body cannot make or use insulin properly, sugar builds up in the bloodstream instead, causing lots of health problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing just 7% of total body weight through diet and exercise can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%! If you're trying to lose weight, it's important to talk to your doctor about a plan that will help you lose weight safely and healthily.
Getting regular exercise can help weight loss, lower blood sugar, and improve insulin sensitivity. But exercise doesn't have to mean a long gym session! Including more physical activity in your day-to-day life will make a difference.
Try parking a little further away from the grocery store, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. And if you're building an exercise routine from scratch, start small and simple. Family nurse practitioner Ryan Aiazzi says in the Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Podcast, "If you're just starting, do 10 or 15 minutes. You don't have to jump right to the 30 or 40 minutes because you're probably going to burn yourself out and stop." You're also more likely to stick with an exercise routine if you choose activities you enjoy, like riding bikes or walking.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating a diet rich in plants and low in sugar, unhealthy fat, and carbohydrates will help keep blood sugar under control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Don't forget about drinks– limiting alcohol and sugary drinks is also important to a balanced diet.
Episode three of the Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Podcast has much more information about nutrition and type 2 diabetes. If you have any questions about what a healthy diet looks like for you, talk to your qualified healthcare provider.
Stress can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, so managing stress is important to managing blood sugar. Getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness or meditation, getting regular exercise, and possibly even getting therapy can help manage difficult emotions and reduce stress.
You can find resources, tips, and more information about how healthy habits can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes here.
To listen to the Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Podcast, click here!