Understand Your Risk for Diabetes

Understand Your Risk for Diabetes
Diabetes contributes to over 230,000 U.S. deaths per year. However, many people with type 2 diabetes are not aware they have the disease and may already have developed various health complications associated with it.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

There are a number of risk factors that increase a person’s risk for developing prediabetes and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes. Some of these characteristics are beyond a person’s control, such as:

Family history
If you have a blood relative with diabetes, your risk for developing it is significantly increased. Map out your family history tree (PDF) and take it to your doctor to find out what it means for you.
Race or ethnic background
If you are of African-American, Asian-American, Latino/Hispanic-American, Native American or Pacific Islander descent, you have a greater likelihood of developing diabetes.
Age
The older you are, the higher your risk. Generally, type 2 diabetes occurs in middle-aged adults, most frequently after age 45. However, health care providers are diagnosing more and more children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes.
History of gestational diabetes
If you developed diabetes during pregnancy or delivered a baby over 9 lbs., you are at increased risk.

Modifiable Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

While some things that contribute to the development of diabetes are beyond a person’s control, there are also a number of modifiable risk factors. By making healthy changes in these areas, people can reduce their risks or delay the development of diabetes and improve their overall quality of life.

Overweight/obesity
About 50 percent of men and 70 percent of women who have diabetes are obese. If you are 20 percent or more over your optimal body weight, you have a higher risk of developing diabetes. Losing five to seven percent of your body weight can cut your risk of developing prediabetes in half, and your risk decreases even more as you lose more weight. Learn how to manage your weight.
Physical inactivity
Along with overweight/obesity, physical inactivity ranks among the top modifiable risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. By achieving 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 90 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or a combination of the two, you can improve your health and minimize risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
In addition to causing damage to the cardiovascular system, untreated high blood pressure has been linked to the development of diabetes. Learn more about high blood pressure and how to control it.
Abnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels
Low HDL “good” cholesterol” and/or high triglycerides can increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Both of these abnormalities can also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. A healthy eating plan, sufficient aerobic physical activity, and a healthy weight can help improve abnormal lipds. Sometimes medicinations are necessary.
By following our healthy living tips, you can take control of these modifiable risk factors, prevent or delay the development of diabetes, and improve your quality of life.

This content was last reviewed on 7/5/2012.

Yoga may improve cardiovascular and metabolic health

By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

namasteYoga has been around for centuries, with writings extolling its virtues in producing serenity and transcendence – but world leaders, as well as a growing collection of scientific research, are pointing to how the ancient practice also can be good for your health.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution commemorating June 21 as International Day of Yoga. Cosponsored by more than 170 member states, representatives said yoga not only promotes “clarity of vision and action” but health.

“Yoga can contribute to resilience against non-communicable diseases. Yoga can bring communities together in an inclusive manner that generates respect,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the news agency Reuters at the time of the resolution in December. “Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress.”

A recent review of 37 randomized controlled trials concluded that yoga may improve cardiovascular and metabolic health, according to researchers at Harvard University and its Schools of Medicine and Public Health and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. The study was published in December in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The research paper said “yoga showed significant improvement” for body mass index, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (also called “bad”) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (also called “good”) cholesterol compared to those who did not exercise. The study noted “significant changes” in heart rate, body weight and diastolic blood pressure, as well.

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