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5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes


Diabetes rates have nearly doubled worldwide in the past three decades, according to the World Health Organization. The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

Without intervention, that number is likely to rise.

Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, lower limb amputation and stroke, so it’s important to know if you’re at risk and the steps you can take to lower the likelihood you will develop the condition. Here are five things you can do to help lower your risk.

1. Avoid or stop smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokers are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. And smokers already living with diabetes are likely to have trouble controlling the disease. If you continue to smoke after developing diabetes, you’re at a higher risk for blindness, heart and kidney disease, nerve damage and poor blood flow to your legs and feet. If you need help quitting tobacco, sign up for Freshstart, a free tobacco cessation class offered by Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well.

2. Eat less red meat. You can also lower you risk by consuming leaner protein sources like beans, fish, poultry and tofu. Eating too much red meat — particularly processed red meat — has been linked to a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published by the American Society of Nutrition. Researchers estimated that people who substitute just one serving of low-fat dairy, nuts and whole grains a day for one serving of red meat could lower their risk by 16 to 35 percent.

3. Eat whole grains. A study published by the American Heart Association shows that diets high in whole grains and low in refined carbohydrates help protect against diabetes. According to a Harvard University study, a high intake of whole grains is associated with higher physical activity, a lower body mass index (BMI), a lower likelihood of smoking and reduced consumption of alcohol, sodas and processed meats, which helps lower your risk factors for diabetes.

4. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increases your chance of developing type 2 diabetes so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Eating healthier and getting more physical activity can help you reach your weight goal.

5. Stay physically active. Try to be active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Physical activity helps lower your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, according to the American Diabetes Association. It also helps relieve stress, strengthen your heart and improve blood circulation.

Learn more about your risk for diabetes by taking a free online diabetes health risk assessment from Get Healthy, Live Well. Share your results with your doctor and ask what more you can do to lower your risk and whether you should be screened for diabetes

Dr. Eubanks sees patients at Primary Care of Bremen, a Tanner Medical Group practice located in Bremen, Ga. For more information, visit www.primarycare-bremen.org or call 770.537.6500.