No one wants to get diabetes—and luckily for you, researchers may have found a few ways to prevent it indefinitely.
However, before we get to that, let’s take a look at how prevalent this disease really is.
Diabetes affects 8.3 percent of the United States population. For adults in the United States, it is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness. The disease is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In other words, it’s serious business.
And these statistics aren’t predicted to improve—in fact, they’re only supposed to get worse. In 2008, 50 percent of American citizens ages 65 or older were pre-diabetic, which means they were suffering from conditions, such as high blood sugar, proven to occur before the onset of type 2 diabetes.
These numbers don’t sound too encouraging, especially to those likely to receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis at some point in life. Here are some factors that may mean you are at risk:
• You have a family history of diabetes.
• You are over the age of 45.
• You have metabolic syndrome.
• You are overweight.
• You have high blood pressure.
Nearly 10 percent of the population in the United States has to use one of these
testing machines to check their glucose levels before each meal.
Photo by MsH_ISB/Courtesy Flickr
But don’t despair just yet. Researchers may have found five simple steps proven to prevent type 2 diabetes. In the study, researchers analyzed the diet, lifestyle, medical history, physical characteristics and demographic profile of more than 200,000 men and women. When the study started, participants were anywhere from 50 to 71 years of age and had no serious illnesses. At the end of the study, diabetes affected nine percent of participants. Here are the five characteristics the other 90 percent had in common most often:
1. Normal weight. They were not overweight or obese, and maintained a body mass index below 25 (a threshold equivalent to 155 pounds for a 5-foot, 6-inch woman). To find out where your BMI stands, click here.
2. Nonsmoking. They had never been regular smokers, or they’d been smoke-free for at least 10 years. If you need help quitting smoking, click here.
3. Physically active. They got at least 20 minutes of heart-pounding, sweat-inducing exercise three or more times per week. Not all exercise has to feel like work, though! Click here for a few exercises that don’t feel like exercise at all.
4. Healthy diet. They consumed a diet with lots of fiber, little trans fat, few refined or sugary carbohydrates, and a high ratio of good (polyunsaturated) to bad (saturated) fats. Not sure about what exactly makes up a healthy diet? Click here to find out.
5. Light drinking. They used alcohol in moderation, if at all—two drinks or less a day for men, and one drink or less for women.