The rates of diabetes have soared in recent years, and may projections show them continuing to rise indefinitely. According to a report from the CDC, over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and of that 30 million, over 7 million are undiagnosed. The numbers are staggering and many people are trying to take measures to reduce their risk.
A lot of the risk factors for developing diabetes are out of your control, doctors say. Some of these factors include: poor quality of your mother’s nutrition while pregnant, not being breastfed as an infant, being over 45, having a family history of diabetes, having a history of gestational diabetes, and your race (African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaskan Native have a higher risk).
Although this is a long list of common risk factors, there are actually many things you can do to prevent and even cure diabetes and there are some risk factors that are under your control. Some of the factors that you can control include your weight, physical activity, and nutrition. While this is a shorter list, working to reduce these risk factors can go a very long way in both preventing and reversing diabetes.
According to Dr. Michael Dansinger, MD of WebMD, “Losing extra pounds, eating better, and becoming more active are some of the most important steps you can take.” Especially for people have the odds stacked against them with risk factors, improving lifestyle factors can make a huge difference.
Dansinger also revealed that although there are medications to treat diabetes, lifestyle changes are the most important and effective ways to prevent and reverse the disease. Many doctors suggest trying to prevent and reverse diabetes without medication before turning to medication to treat the disease.
One of the risk factors that may change as diabetes becomes more prevalent is age. Age is a factor but rates in younger people are rising along with the overall incidence of the disease. This is further proof that lifestyle factors have a huge impact on the likelihood of a person developing diabetes.
With the rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes increasing at alarming rates, doctors are urging patients to work to reduce the risk factors that they can control. Preventing and treating the disease with lifestyle changes and lowering risk factors is the first line of defense.