Diabetes affects more than 37 million people in the United States. Most of those people with diabetes ― up to 95% ― have Type 2 diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes typically begins early in life, the more common Type 2 diabetes develops later and may be prevented by making lifestyle changes.
At East Side Primary Medical Care, our patient-focused primary care physician, Dr. Daniel Klein, sees the connection between lifestyle and chronic health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, so he focuses on preventive healthcare.
What can you do to prevent Type 2 diabetes? Here, we share some of the things.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
If you’re overweight or obese, your risk of developing diabetes is significantly higher than people who are at a healthy weight. Having too much body fat makes the cells more resistant to the actions of insulin, the hormone that allows glucose into the cells. The insulin resistance increases glucose in the blood, leading to Type 2 diabetes.
Getting to a healthy weight and staying there can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. But losing 5% of your weight can make a huge difference.
2. Be more active
Physical inactivity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps your body burn excess glucose.
The goal is 30 minutes of planned exercise (walking, biking, swimming) five days a week. But any physical activity is better than none. Find ways to add exercise to your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking short stretch breaks during the day, or getting off the subway or bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way.
3. Eat a balanced diet
Eating sugar or sugary foods doesn’t cause Type 2 diabetes. But your food choices affect your weight, energy level, and overall health. A balanced diet includes foods from all the food groups in amounts that supply your body with the nutrition and energy necessary for optimal function.
Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins and limit processed foods high in salt, unhealthy fats, and added sugar.
4. Get enough sleep
Are you getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night? Not getting enough sleep affects insulin activity and increases risk of diabetes. Poor sleep habits also make it harder to manage a healthy weight.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, keep your bedroom dark and cool, and turn off your electronics.
5. Schedule your annual physical
Your annual physical exam focuses on keeping you healthy. At this yearly doctor’s visit, we screen for health issues and habits that increase risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes. We also provide education on lifestyle changes that improve overall health and lower the risk of developing diseases.
For patients in need of enhanced health services and a more personalized approach, we offer concierge primary care.
Taking steps to lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes benefits your overall health. But you don’t have manage it on your own. Let us help you create a plan that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Call our office today or book an appointment with our primary care provider online. We also offer telemedicine appointments for certain conditions.