Diabetes is more prevalent than ever before.
Not only are more adults being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but children are now as well.
The best thing you can do for your health is take steps to prevent disease. But even if you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, there are things you can do to protect your body from further damage.
One important step you should take is to watch for diabetes symptoms.
Could It Be Diabetes? Signs You Could Have This Disease
People who develop type 2 diabetes will end up with the following symptoms.
- Having to urinate frequently
- Feeling excessively thirsty
- Unexpected/unexplained weight loss
- Feeling like you’re starving all the time
- Foot pain and/or numbness and tingling
- Frequent bacterial infections and yeast infections
- Difficulty healing from a wound.
It’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you develop any of these diabetes symptoms. Left untreated, they can get progressively worse and even lead to dangerous consequences, like loss of consciousness and coma.
What Causes Diabetes? 7 Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes
Besides watching out for common symptoms related to diabetes, you should also keep in mind the risk factors of the disease.
Keep in mind, though, that these risk factors don’t automatically mean you’re going to get the disease. However, you are more susceptible, which means you’ll want to take preventative steps to avoid a diabetes diagnosis.
Here are seven risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
1. Being Overweight, Obese, and/or Sedentary
Excess weight contributes to insulin resistance. And if we’re sedentary, there’s no way for the insulin to be burned off as energy. So, it just keeps building up.
2. A Family History of Type 2 Diabetes
Genes play a big part in what diseases we develop during our lifetime. If someone in our family had insulin resistance, we’ll be at risk too.
3. Race and Age Play a Role
As we get older, we tend to lose muscle mass because we aren’t as active as we used to be. This can put us at risk for insulin resistance.
Additionally, people who are of African American, Native American, and Hispanic descent are at a higher risk level as well.
4. A History of Gestational Diabetes
This condition during pregnancy leaves a woman at a higher risk of developing type 2 down the road. This is also true of women who’ve given birth to babies weighing over nine pounds.
5. High Blood Pressure Can Contribute to the Disease
To reduce your risk of insulin resistance, keep your blood pressure levels below 140/90.
6. High Cholesterol and/or Triglyceride Levels
People with high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterols are at risk, as are those who have high triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat that are carried throughout the body via the bloodstream.
7. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Women who develop polycystic ovarian syndrome have a higher risk of insulin resistance. The issue could be the imbalance of hormones.
What Is the Diabetes Diet? Does It Really Work?
We all need to watch what we eat. But if we’re predisposed to a disease that’s somewhat reliant on the food we consume, it’s best to take special care when we make dietary decisions. This is even more important if we’ve already been diagnosed with the disease.
To make dietary choices easier, researchers and dietitians have developed what’s known as the Diabetes Diet.
- Healthy Carbohydrates – Not all carbs are bad! Simple carbs aren’t the same as complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs digest more slowly, which doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes like sugary foods. Try eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
- High-Fiber Foods – Fiber helps to slow digestion and can assist in moderating blood glucose levels. Foods high in fiber include fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole wheat, and nuts.
- Heart-Healthy Fats – Just as not all carbs are bad for us, not all fats are either. In fact, a number of them are considered healthy and should be consumed in moderation. These can include foods like avocados and olives, as well as fatty yet healthy fish like salmon.
It’s important to avoid or significantly reduce saturated fats, transfats, foods high in cholesterol, and sodium. We don’t have to cut these foods out of our diet completely, but we definitely want to limit them to avoid weight gain and blood sugar fluctuations.
Don’t Let Diabetes Win – Take Charge of Your Health
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is preventable. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed, though, there are steps you can take to control the disease, minimize the damage, and even reverse it.
With changes to their diet and lifestyle, many patients have been able to reduce the amount of medication they need. Some are even able to go off of their medication completely.
If you’ve been diagnosed with this disease – don’t let it win. You are in charge and you can take back your health.