What You Need to Know About Diabetes
Let’s talk about what diabetes is.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause problems with the heart, kidneys, and eyes. It’s also a major risk factor for many health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects how the body turns food into energy when it is broken down into sugar and released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar goes up, it signals the pancreas to release insulin, oftentimes when it’s not actually needed, resulting in fluctuating glucose levels that must be managed.
The risk factors for developing diabetes
There are many risk factors that can lead to diabetes. These include genetics, age, weight, inactivity, race/ethnicity, and gestational diabetes in pregnancy.
One of the most important of those risk factors is genetics. Those with close family members with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing it themselves. This is because there’s an increased chance that you’ll inherit the genes that make you susceptible to the disease.
Age is another important factor when it comes to diabetes risk factors. The older you get the more likely it is that you’ll develop diabetes due to aging’s common effects on metabolism.
Weight also plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll develop diabetes; if you’re overweight or obese your chances of getting the disease increase. Being inactive can increase your risk of getting diabetes as well; inactive lifestyles often lead to obesity which has been known to be one of the leading causes for many health problems including diabetes.
Race/ethnicity is another factor in whether or not someone will develop diabetes. African-Americans have a higher incidence rate than Caucasians while Latinos have an even higher incidence rate than African-Americans.
Lastly, being pregnant may also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on in life after giving birth if your body cannot produce enough insulin for itself and the baby during pregnancy due to hormone changes caused by pregnancy called gestational diabetes.
How you can help prevent diabetes
If you want to help prevent the onset of diabetes, your first steps should include changes in lifestyle. Here are a few things you can do:
- Eat a diet high in fiber and low in sugar and saturated fats
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
- Keep your weight within healthy limits
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol excessively
- Practice good oral hygiene
If you have diabetes, you have a chronic condition—but you can take steps to manage it by contacting our vascular care experts today.