The chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors, such as genes and lifestyle. While you can't change certain risk factors, such as family history, age, or ethnicity, you can modify lifestyle risk factors related to diet, physical activity, and weight. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes that a person can control include smoking and obesity. There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but making healthy lifestyle changes can help you manage the disease. If diet and exercise aren't enough to control your blood sugar levels, you may also need medication for diabetes or insulin therapy.
The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown, but being overweight and inactive are key contributing factors. Family history and genes play a role in type 2 diabetes. Low activity, poor diet, and excess body weight around the waist increase the chances of contracting the disease. When a person's parents or siblings have type 2 diabetes, the person is more likely to have the disease. In less common type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly destroys beta cells, leaving the body with little or no insulin.
Read on to learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including what people can do to minimize their risk of developing the condition. Know Diabetes by Heart raises awareness that living with type 2 diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and that people should talk to their doctor at their next visit about ways to reduce their risk. Choosing a healthy lifestyle can help prevent type 2 diabetes, even if you have biological family members living with diabetes. With age, a person's body becomes less and less efficient in regulating blood sugar levels, which increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. In combination with a balanced diet, exercise is one of the first symptom management strategies doctors recommend for people living with prediabetes or who have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes affects many major organs, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Oral medications for diabetes, such as metformin (Glumetza, Fortamet, others) may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, but choosing a healthy lifestyle remains essential.
Before developing type 2 diabetes, most people have prediabetes, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Researchers don't fully understand why some people develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and others don't.When a person lives with obesity and is overweight, excessive levels of adipose tissue or body fat release inflammatory proteins, hormones, and other molecules that can trigger insulin resistance. If you are overweight, losing even 7% of your body weight - for example 14 pounds (6.4 kg) if you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kg) - can reduce your risk of diabetes. Through the Know Diabetes by Heart program you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58% (71% if you are 60 or older). Have your blood sugar level checked at least once a year to check that you haven't developed type 2 diabetes.