Type 2 and You – Know the Risk Factors & Prevent Diabetes

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By: Linda Kerr, RN, MSN, NP, CDE, program director, Diabetes, Long Beach Memorial

Diabetes is a condition that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in blood. To use glucose, the body needs the hormone insulin. But in people with diabetes, the body either can’t make insulin or the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should. Excessive weight gain, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are all factors that put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body can’t use insulin to control and process glucose (sugars) in the blood the way it should. Because the disease develops gradually, it’s crucial to be alert to the risk factors and typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Identify the Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination (including bedwetting)
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-to-heal cuts and sores
  • Acanthosis nigricans (AN) – a darkening of the skin around the neck or under the arms

Today, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion estimates that diabetes affects 25.8 million people and has turned into a national epidemic. Seven million of those do not even know they have diabetes, and each year nearly 2 million new cases are diagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and yet, is often preventable. Genetics have a hand in type 2 diabetes, but there are other ways to reduce your risk of diabetes.

Taking Steps to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating low-fat, nutrient-rich foods — like whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and lean proteins — can help prevent excessive weight gain.
  • Limit sugary foods and beverages. Consuming lots of sugar-filled foods and beverages — like sodas, juices, and iced teas — also can lead to excessive weight gain.
  • Make physical activity a daily part of life. An hour or so of lively physical activity every day is a good goal.
  • Reduce screen time. The risk of obesity increases when you watch more than two hours of TV per day.

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes greatly increases each year. At Long Beach Memorial we want to ensure that people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes take preventative measures to keep them healthy. All of these lifestyle changes are good steps to take, even if you have no symptoms of type 2 diabetes lifestyle changes can improve the health and happiness of the entire family.

If you feel you may be one of 2 million unknowingly living with diabetes or would like to learn how to better manage your diabetes, call the Long Beach Memorial Outpatient Diabetes Clinic at (562) 933-9283 or visit MemorialCare.org/Diabetes.

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