With over 34 million people affected, diabetes is not a novel disease. Instead it’s one of the most common diseases in the United States.
But, with everything we know about it, why isn’t there a way to stop people from developing the disease each year? Well, as it turns out, type 2 diabetes is actually quite preventable. The prevention of type 2 diabetes mainly comes down to lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise.
Unfortunately, certain habits, many of which can be bad for your health, are ingrained over a lifetime. Habits like eating unhealthy foods or smoking can lead to high body weight, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are common risk factors of type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn more about lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes. With more knowledge, you can be more empowered to take control of your health and lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Understand your risk of diabetes
First and foremost, you should understand your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. You can take a risk assessment on the ADA (American Diabetes Association) website. It will be a short test to determine your level of risk based on different factors, such as age, family history, medical history and lifestyle. You can then discuss your results with your healthcare provider to get a more full and accurate picture.
Watch what you eat
Diet is one of the biggest factors in lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes. A diet including too many carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in certain people. Avoid processed foods high in fat and complex sugars. Instead, go for lean meats, fish, whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetables. You can also try to avoid fried foods and high-fat dairy products.
Engage in regular exercise
Along with diet, exercise helps your body manage blood sugar levels. Exercising can help increase insulin sensitivity, which is how responsive the body is to insulin. Insulin helps the body process sugars into energy and decrease overall blood sugar levels. The CDC recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, per week. Even light activity, such as walking, periodically throughout the day can help lower the risk of type diabetes.
People who smoke have a 40% greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke. Smoking can cause damage to the blood vessels and cells in your body. This can increase inflammation and lead to health problems, including type 2 diabetes. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about available smoking cessation programs.
Limit your alcohol consumption
Alcohol can cause unpredictable levels of blood sugar. Therefore, alcohol can make it harder for the body to manage blood sugar, especially in those at risk of type 2 diabetes. Be aware of your alcohol intake and limit your overall alcohol consumption.
Lower your risk of heart disease
Heart disease and type 2 diabetes are often associated with one another. If you’re at risk of other conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, you should take steps to ensure your blood pressure and cholesterol are in check. Heart disease and diabetes can increase the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
Get regular check ups from your doctor
You should always try and keep up with your annual visits with your doctor. These visits can serve to monitor your risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can also evaluate your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall health condition. They can then make recommendations, if needed, to ensure you’re managing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Following these tips can help with lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes. If you have other health conditions, it’s important to manage them with both good lifestyle habits and medications as needed. You can also join programs like the National Diabetes Prevention Program to learn more about type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
What to Do if You Are Diagnosed
It is possible that you can still get type 2 diabetes even if you try your best to do the tips mentioned above. If you do get diagnosed, your doctor will likely prescribe you insulin to help manage your blood sugar. While insulin can be very expensive, there are ways to help you save on prescription medications.
Inside Rx is a discount savings card for prescription medications for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Inside Rx may be able to help users save up to 80% off brand and generic prescription medications. We may even be able to help you save on your diabetes medications. Simply go to the website, search for your medication and find discounts at pharmacies near you. Then, download your savings card instantly and show it to the pharmacist to save!
Prevention is key when it comes to type 2 diabetes. But there are resources to help if you are diagnosed, including your friends here at Inside Rx! To learn more about Inside Rx, visit our FAQ page.