Diabetes, in most cases, does not occur as an isolated case within a family or among relatives.
Therefore if a parent, sibling or close relative has diabetes there is a high probability that you could be at risk of developing diabetes as well.
Awareness is the first and most important step to preventing and/or managing risk factors that could lead to diabetes.
The Center for Disease Control reports that …
- Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes.
- About 7 million people who have diabetes are not aware that they have the disease.
- Approximately 79 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes. This puts them at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
- A family history of diabetes places you at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy as well as the child of such a pregnancy have an increased risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Having diabetes means that your blood sugar or blood glucose is too high. There are two main types of diabetes – diabetes 1 and diabetes 2.
With the less common diabetes type 1 the body simply does not produce insulin on its own. This is considered an immune disorder where the person’s own body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells. As a result, the glucose (sugar) stays in the blood where it damages vital organs and systems. Therefore individuals with diabetes type 1 must take insulin in order to survive.
The most common form of diabetes is diabetes type 2. With diabetes type 2 the individual’s own body either does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin or the body’s cells choose to ignore the insulin.
What Can You Do To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
Knowing your family history is one of the most important steps you can take to help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. One easy way to find out about your family health history is through communication. Encourage your relatives to share information about their health history. This should not be too difficult to accomplish because grandparents, uncles, aunts and other senior family members often like to share their health history and health status.
Secondly, keep a watchful eye on your blood test results. This applies especially to your levels of A1C blood glucose, your blood pressure levels, and your cholesterol levels. Monitoring these things can go a long way in preventing or managing diabetes-related issues. In addition, this can also reduce your risks of having other health problems such as heart attack or stroke, kidney disease, blindness or nerve damage.
Finally, you may want to take steps to make lifestyle changes and adjustments. Incorporate a special diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight. Being overweight is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
To keep up your motivation, set small and reasonable goals for yourself that are achievable within a relatively short period of time. For example, drink water more often instead of sugary drinks like soda or juices. Eat smaller portions. To help control your food intake, switch to a smaller size dinner plate and don’t take seconds. Drinking a glass of water before each meal can also help to reduce the amount of food you eat.
In addition, exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes at least five days a week. Engaging the “buddy system” by having a partner or family member to work out with you will keep you on track. To monitor your progress and help you reach your goals, keep accurate records of your food and drink intake, and the time you spend exercising.
Depending on your symptoms and condition, you may also benefit from wearing compression socks or stockings to prevent or manage swelling or skin ulcers that are frequently associated with diabetes. Your physician or diabetes specialist will be happy to discuss this with you. They can advise you as to which types of diabetic socks or stockings are best for your situation.
For additional information on this topic please also read our post …
Give Your Legs and Feet a Treat with Special Diabetic Socks and Stockings
Physicians can recommend compression hosiery for diabetic patients to prevent swelling in the legs and feet or for expectant mothers who have gestational diabetes.
Compression socks or stockings may also be beneficial for individuals trying to change their dietary habits and who are incorporating more exercise into their lifestyle.
A WORD OF CAUTION!
Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes such as wearing compression garments and to ensure there are no pre-existing conditions that would preclude you from wearing compression hosiery. For example, individuals with arterial insufficiency may not benefit from wearing compression socks or stockings.