Three Ways To Lower The Risk of Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so this week on the blog we wanted to share three steps every patient can take to lower their risk of developing this serious disease.

It’s important to note first of all that diabetes is categorized as Type I or Type II. Type I diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood. Type I is a failure of your body’s pancreas to produce any insulin, which your body needs in order to process glucose. Type II diabetes happens when tissue throughout the body becomes less sensitive to insulin and, in later stages, the pancreas struggles to produce an adequate amount of insulin.

Type II diabetes is much more common than Type I, accounting for more than 90% of diabetes diagnoses, and it’s often preventable if patients take appropriate steps to be proactive about their health. Here are three steps every patient can take to lower their risk of diabetes.

1) Maintain a healthy weight.

Rates of Type II diabetes have doubled over the past two decades, largely because rates of obesity have risen dramatically in the U.S. and around the world. More than 90% of patients with Type II diabetes are obese, making weight one of the most important risk factors patients can control to decrease their risk of developing diabetes.

A healthy weight is a BMI (body mass index) between 18.5 - 25. Click here to calculate your BMI to see where you fall.

2) Exercise regularly.

Exercises has lots of health benefits, including regulating blood sugar, which helps to prevent diabetes. It’s recommended that you get 150 minutes of cardio each week. Even if you don’t have the time or money or inclination to go to the gym, there are lots of other ways you can stay in shape!

3) Watch what you eat.

Eating large amounts of simple carbohydrates, like white rice, pastries, candy, white bread and sugary cereals, requires your body to produce a higher amount of insulin to process all the extra sugar. It’s important to limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat, and choose complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates (for example, eating oatmeal instead of sugary cereal for breakfast), which gives your body more time to break down the carbohydrates into usable energy.

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At Golden Gate Urgent Care, our goal is to help you stay as healthy and happy as possible! Make your appointment online or simply walk in to any of our six Bay Area locations to get the care you need.

Author
Sarah Thebarge MMSc, PA-C Sarah Thebarge earned her physician assistant degree at Yale School of Medicine, and then studied journalism at Columbia School of Journalism. She has been a physician assistant and a freelance journalist since 2004. In addition to caring for patients at Golden Gate Urgent Care, Sarah frequently volunteers her medical skills in the developing world. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, USA Today and National Geographic, and her blog was featured on MSNBC.com. She is the author of the memoir The Invisible Girls and the upcoming book WELL: Healing our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa. She currently lives in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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