What Are Risk Factors For Having Diabetes? Dr. John Vitarello Sheds Insight

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body move sugar from the bloodstream into cells to use as energy. When people have Type 2 diabetes, their blood sugar levels become too high because their bodies are resistant to insulin and over time the pancreas stops  making enough insulin. In this article, we will discuss the risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Weight

Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for type II diabetes. Approximately 80% of people with type II diabetes are overweight or obese. When carrying extra weight, the cells in the body are less responsive to the hormone insulin. This is referred to as insulin resistance. In turn, the pancreas has to make more insulin and over time the pancreas loses the ability to make large amounts of insulin.

So if you are overweight or obese and have any other risk factors for diabetes, it’s crucial to lose weight to reduce your risks.

Genetics

One’s genes are responsible for the proteins that dictate how the body metabolizes sugar. If there is a problem with how these proteins function, it can lead to diabetes. Studies have shown that certain variations in these genes are more common in people with diabetes, which means that genetics is a general factor in the development of the disease. If you have a family member with diabetes, you may be at higher risk and should talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risks.

However,  Vitarello says it is important to note that not everyone with these variations will develop diabetes – other factors, such as lifestyle and diet, also play a role. Genetics is just one of many risk factors for the disease; others include being overweight, being older, and having a history of gestational diabetes.

Diet

Overeating simple carbohydrates found in items such as soda, baked goods, white bread, and pasta cause elevated blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, take longer to metabolize and therefore lead to a lower increase in blood sugar.

In addition, eating a high-fat diet can also lead to weight gain, which is another risk factor for diabetes. In particular, saturated and trans fat are the most harmful.  And finally, eating a lot of processed foods can also increase your risk of developing diabetes, as they tend to be high in sugar and unhealthy fats. So if you’re looking to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary and processed foods is crucial.

Exercise

Exercise is a vital part of managing diabetes and preventing its complications. When you are physically active, your body uses sugar for energy, which helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Exercise also helps improve insulin sensitivity, meaning that your body can use the insulin it produces. In addition, exercise helps reduce stress and improve overall health, which are essential factors in managing diabetes.

Vitarello says while any type of exercise is beneficial, moderate-intensity aerobic activity is especially helpful in managing diabetes. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week. Walking, swimming, and biking are all great ways to get started. If you have been inactive for a while or have health concerns, talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Age

Age is a significant factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. The general risk of developing the disease increases after middle age. This is partly due to the natural process of aging and partly due to the increased likelihood of developing obesity and other conditions that can lead to diabetes, such as high blood pressure. The risk of type 2 diabetes also increases with age in people with a family history.

In addition, age-related changes in insulin production may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. As we age, our pancreas produces less insulin, and our cells become less responsive to insulin. This combination of factors makes it more difficult for our bodies to regulate blood sugar levels, leading to type 2 diabetes.

For this reason, the American Diabetes Association recommends annual screening test for people over the age of 45.

Pregnancy

Medical expert Vitarello says pregnancy is another significant factor in developing type II diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type II diabetes later in life. In addition, women who give birth to babies that weigh more than nine pounds are also at increased risk. So if you have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a large baby, you must be aware of your risks and take steps to prevent type II diabetes.

Final Thoughts

These are just some of the general factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes. If you have any risk factors, you must talk to your doctor about screening for diabetes and ways to reduce your risk. And if you have diabetes, it’s essential to manage your condition and take steps to prevent its complications. Cardiovascular disease is more than twice as common in people with diabetes, compared to those without. Many resources are available, so be sure to talk to your doctor or a diabetes educator. With the correct information and support, you can live a healthy and active life with diabetes.

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