What To Do If Type 2 Diabetes Runs In Your Family

What To Do If Type 2 Diabetes Runs In Your Family

While both type 1 and type 2 diabetes run in some families, the link is stronger with type 2. Genetics plays an important part in this link, with lifestyle also being a key factor: After all, family members tend to share similar habits when it comes to diet and fitness. If type 2 diabetes runs in your family, whether it's due to genetics, lifestyle or both, you can prevent or delay its onset. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish this.

1. Begin as soon as possible

It's never too late to start working to prevent or decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes. Although people aged 45 and older are more at risk for type 2 than their younger counterparts, they can still be successfully proactive. No matter your age, start as soon as possible to lose weight and eat healthier.

2. Enjoy a well-balanced diet

A change in eating habits may be in order for folks who want to avoid type 2 diabetes. In a nutshell, decrease your consumption of sugar, particularly processed sugar, and eat more of these:

  • Foods high in fiber.
  • Whole grains (instead of flour products; for example, whole-grain pasta instead of regular pasta).
  • Fruits and vegetables (especially those that are darker).
  • Canola oil (rather than vegetable oil).
  • Low-fat dairy.

Decrease your consumption of the following foods:

  • Bacon, ham and other high-sodium foods.
  • Foods high in saturated fats (such as some types of butter and cheese).

3. Get moving

One of the best ways to ward off type 2 diabetes is to move for at least 30 minutes daily, five days a week (or more). The exercise doesn't need to be intensive; walking will do just fine. Adding variety to your exercise may keep you motivated, so experiment with various sports such as tennis and bowling, as well as exercise DVDs, fitness classes and workout buddies. Also implement these small changes that end up making a big difference:

  • Take the elevator instead of the stairs.
  • Park farther from the entrance in the work or shopping mall parking lot.
  • Walk or bicycle to do your errands rather than drive.

4. Other changes to implement

While diet and exercise changes are huge, here are a few other things to help get you on a healthier path in life.

  • Decrease or quit your smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Drink plenty of water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Open the lines of communication with your doctor. Tell your physician that type 2 runs in your family, and you are concerned that you are at risk. Definitely tell him or her about symptoms you may have developed (common ones include fatigue, excessive thirst and mysterious weight loss). The doctor may want to screen you for prediabetes.

Sources:

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/genetics-of-diabetes.html

https://www.mountnittany.org/articles/diabetes-runs-in-my-family-how-can-i-lessen-my-risk-of-getting-the-disease

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/living-with-diabetes/older-adults/prevent-type2-diabetes/Pages/publicationdetail.aspx

http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes-type2/index.html

About the author:

Kelly Short is a freelance writer and editor based in Washington state. She has written on health-related topics since 2009 and enjoys hiking in her free time.