Scientists have yet to discover exactly what causes diabetes, and there are no noticeable risk factors for type 1. But for type 2 diabetes, the risk factors are much clearer:
- Obesity: It’s the #1 risk factor. The heavier a person, the higher the risk of insulin resistance, because fat interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin.
- Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle is never a good thing, especially if you’re overweight. Exercise gets the heart pumping and wards off all kinds of health conditions. In terms of diabetes, muscle cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells, so a person can decrease insulin resistance by simply moving. Being more active also lowers blood sugar levels by helping insulin to be more effective. Losing weight is a nice benefit, too. So get moving!
- Poor Eating Habits: The vast majority of people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Blame it on unhealthy eating. Too much fat and processed foods, not enough fiber, and too many simple carbohydrates, which all contribute to a diagnosis of diabetes. Eating right can help prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Family History: Sometimes, it’s just in the genes. People who have family members who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for developing it themselves. African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans all have a higher than normal rate of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle more than anything else determines who will have diabetes.
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