The most common form of the disease, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels correctly. If you’re overweight, have a family history of diabetes, have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or exercise fewer than three times a week, you are at risk. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that it can be prevented.
Are You Headed for Diabetes?
A guide for 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond
In Your 20s: Do Some Digging
Nows the time to find out if anyone in your family has diabetes. Sit your parents down and take a complete health history (dont forget to ask about their parents, too). Do the same with your siblings, and keep track of it in a convenient spot.
In Your 30s: Watch Whats on Your Plate
With kids, careers and community commitments, this can be one of the craziest times of your life. And that means nutrition often takes a back seat to quick, processed foods that are ready in the blink of a drive-thru order. But if you want to protect yourself (and your family) from diabetes, you need to eat healthfully. Your secret weapon: weekly meal plans. Carve out time each weekend to plan the next weeks (nutritious) meals in advance. Then youll only have to shop once, and youll never have to ask yourself, Whats for dinner?
In Your 40s: Keep an Eye on Your Numbers
Save the date now: When you turn 45, get screened for diabetes. (You might need to be tested sooner if you have certain risk factors, so talk to your physician.) And thats not all. Because high blood pressure and cholesterol levels are risk factors for the disease, you should be tested at regular intervals for those as well. If you havent developed a relationship with a primary care provider, theres no time like the present.
In Your 50s and Beyond: Dont Stop Moving
Youve got your daily routine down pat, so you know where theres room to add in a little exercise, which lowers your diabetes risk and keeps your numbers in the healthy range. A morning dance DVD at home? A lunchtime walk? Whatever it is, do it five times a week for 30 minutes each timeand you can do it in one chunk or in smaller 10-minute increments.