Type 2 Diabetes: Who is at the Greatest Risk, and How to Manage the Disease

September 07, 2016

Type 2 Diabetes: Who is at the Greatest Risk, and How to Manage the Disease

 Yesterday’s infographic provided a great introduction to type 2 diabetes, and today we are going to go even more in depth.

Most people are probably aware that being overweight or physically inactive increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Other major predictors include having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and higher than normal glucose levels (known as prediabetes). This is particularly alarming because according to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million Americans aged 20+ had prediabetes in 2012. That number was way up from 79 million just 2 years earlier in 2010.

Genetics can also play a big role in determining who develops type 2 diabetes. Having a parent or sibling with the disease means that you are more likely to be diagnosed at some point in your lifetime. Certain ethnicities are also at greater risk. Individuals who are African American, Alaska Native, Asian American, Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Islander American, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for people living with type 2 diabetes, as long as the appropriate steps are taken to manage the disease. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is one of these important steps. This can be achieved by controlling the amount of calories and carbohydrates consumed, and by having a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Increasing physical activity, and decreasing time spent watching TV or sitting at the computer, can also help to maintain a healthy weight and manage type 2 diabetes.

While some people display symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, frequent urination, or extreme fatigue, others display no symptoms at all. The only way to know for sure is by having your blood tested. Considering that diabetes was mentioned as a cause of death in a total of 234,051 death certificates in the United States in 2010, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

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