Over 37 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, which is a long-lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.1 Almost half of people aged 65 years or older have prediabetes, which means you have a higher blood sugar level than normal and are at high risk to develop type 2 diabetes.2There is no cure for diabetes, and over time it can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of getting diabetes. Here are five tips for reducing diabetes risk.
1. Exercise Regularly
Obesity and an inactive lifestyle cause 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases in the United States.3 Exercise has infinite benefits beyond reducing the risk of diabetes, but it is also one of the most important things you can do for your health. A solid goal is to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. If you haven’t been active recently, talk to your doctor about which activities are best to help transition into a physically active lifestyle.
2. Lose Excess Weight
Did you know that you’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight? The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with prediabetes try to lose 7 to 10 percent of their body weight through changes in exercise and diet. Say you weigh 200 pounds, losing 10 to 14 pounds can make a great difference in reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.4
3. Quit Smoking
Smokers are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, making quitting smoking an obvious lifestyle change to reduce your diabetes risk.5 Quitting smoking has health benefits beyond reducing your diabetes risk that can be felt right away.
4. Eat Healthy Fats
Foods that are high in saturated fat, such as butter and fatty beef, are known to increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Alternatives can be foods rich in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and fish. Unsaturated fats help promote healthy blood cholesterol levels and good heart and vascular health.6
5. Avoid Processed Foods
Highly processed foods often contain added sugars, unhealthy fats and chemical preservatives that can increase diabetes risk if they are regularly part of your diet. You’ll want to try and incorporate foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber in your diet. Having a balanced diet that incorporates fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats can help gear you toward a healthier life and potential weight loss, both of which will be crucial in avoiding type 2 diabetes.
SelectQuote Can Help You Find the Right Medicare Coverage for Your Healthcare Needs
Another tip for reducing the risk of diabetes is to make sure you have the right healthcare coverage for you. At SelectQuote, we can shop all of the Medicare plans available to you from some of the most trusted carriers in the nation to find the right coverage for you and your healthcare needs. Having the right Medicare coverage can make getting the healthcare services you need easier. Get your free, no obligation quote from SelectQuote today.