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If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are abnormally high. This occurs in type 2 diabetes because your body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin effectively (this is called insulin resistance). If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you may be able to incorporate methods for preventing or delaying it.

Who’s At Risk?

Many people in the United States are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Your chances of contracting it are determined by a combination of risk factors, including your genes and lifestyle. Among the risk factors are:

  • Having prediabetes, which means you have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes
  • Being overweight or having obesity
  • Being age 45 or older
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Being an African American, an Alaska Native, an American Indian, an Asian American, a Hispanic/Latino, a Native Hawaiian, or a Pacific Islander
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol or a high level of triglycerides
  • A history of diabetes in pregnancy
  • Having given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • A history of heart disease or stroke
  • Having depression
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition in which your skin darkens and thickens, particularly around your neck and armpits
  • Smoking

Preventing/Delaying Type 2 Diabetes

If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be able to avoid or postpone developing it. The majority of what you need to do involves adopting a healthier lifestyle. So, if you make these changes, you will reap additional health benefits. You may reduce your risk of developing other diseases, and you will most likely feel better and have more energy. The modifications are as follows:

  • Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is a critical component of diabetes prevention. By losing 5 to 10% of your current weight, you may be able to prevent or delay diabetes. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should aim to lose 10 to 20 pounds. And once you’ve lost the weight, it’s critical that you don’t regain it.
  • Following a healthy eating plan. It is critical to limit the number of calories you consume each day if you want to lose weight and keep it off. To accomplish this, your diet should include smaller portions as well as less fat and sugar. You should also consume a wide variety of foods from each food group, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Limiting red meat and avoiding processed meats are also good ideas.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise has numerous health benefits, including weight loss and blood sugar control. Both of these reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. 5 days a week, try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity. If you haven’t been active, consult with your doctor to determine which types of exercise are best for you. You can begin slowly and gradually work your way up to your goal.
  • Don’t smoke. Tobacco use can increase insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, make an effort to stop.
  • Talk to your health care provider to see if there is anything else you can do to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your doctor may advise you to take one of several types of diabetes medications.

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