Most people know of someone who has type II diabetes. It’s becoming more common in today’s society than it ever before. Type II is usually called adult-onset diabetes because it tends to appear later on in life; however, it is beginning to affect children at earlier ages each year. Type II is caused by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood due to insulin resistance. Insulin acts like a key to our cells. Those with type II diabetes have trouble using the insulin as a key to open the cells to let the sugar in. Health complications can arrise in combination with type II diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, and amputation. Are you at risk?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid/fat that is transported in the blood. There is the good cholesterol, also known as high density lipoproteins (HDL), and the low density lipoproteins (LDL) mostly referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. When the “bad” cholesterol is at high levels then this can indicate signs of heart disease. The unhealthy levels can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It may be beneficial to get your cholesterol checked by your primary doctor.
2. Gestational Diabetes
Women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk of getting gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. Those who have had gestational diabetes will have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later on in life.
3. High Blood Sugar
If blood glucose (sugar) is constantly higher than normal then you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Regulating your blood sugar before developing diabetes can help you prevent it in the future. One way to do that is by eating smaller meals 6 times a day. Also, limiting your added refined sugars can lower blood sugar. Be sure to eat whole grains and foods high in fiber. Talk with your doctor to learn ways to check your blood sugar levels.
Being overweight can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and a high blood sugar. Keeping a healthy weight will help you prevent these from occurring. Maintaining a healthy weight can be done by making a few adjustments in the diet. A dietitian will be able to help you plan your meals and guide you to a healthier lifestyle.
5. Age, Gender, Race & History
These things you can’t change, but being aware of them can benefit you. The older you become, the higher your risk is for developing type 2 diabetes and other health complications. If you are African American, Mexican American, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans, you have an increase risk. Men are more likely than women to develop heart disease. If diabetes shows in your family history you are more at risk for developing diabetes.
6. Eating Habits
Consuming more saturated fats and trans fats has been linked to heart disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables can decrease your risk not only for diabetes, but heart disease and cancer as well. What you eat is not the only thing that is important! Portion sizing and eating more, but smaller meals a day can also help your health.
7. Physical Activity
Keeping active can help regulate the blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Managing those three things will lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours at the gym, just means to start at getting 30 minutes in a day and work up to 60 minutes.
Smoking not only can cause cancer, but it can cause a heart attack or stroke as well. It can cause an increase in your “bad” cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 if it is at unhealthy levels.
Dietitians are the best source to go to whether it’s to get you back on track or help you through the prevention process. Take that step forward to a healthier you, because you deserve it!
Written by Allison Mack- @thenutriadvisor Kent State Dietetic Student