You can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by understanding your risk and making changes to your lifestyle. Common risk factors include increased weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels. Changing the habits of a lifetime isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort.
Here are some tips to help you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
1. Check your risk of diabetes. Take the Life! risk assessment test and learn more about your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A 12+ score indicates that you are at high risk and may be eligible for the Life! program – a free Victorian lifestyle modification program that helps you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, or call 13 RISK (13 7475).
2. Manage your weight. Excess body fat, particularly if stored around the abdomen, can increase the body’s resistance to the hormone insulin. This can lead to type 2 diabetes.
3. Exercise regularly. Moderate physical activity on most days of the week helps manage weight, reduce blood glucose levels and may also improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
4. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Reduce the amount of fat in your diet, especially saturated and trans fats. Eat more fruit, vegetables and high-fibre foods. Cut back on salt.
5. Limit takeaway and processed foods. ‘Convenience meals’ are usually high in salt, fat and kilojoules. It’s best to cook for yourself using fresh ingredients whenever possible.
6. Limit your alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can lead to weight gain and may increase your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Men should have no more than two standard drinks a day and women should have no more than one.
7. Quit smoking. Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers.
8. Control your blood pressure. Most people can do this with regular exercise, a balanced diet and by keeping a healthy weight. In some cases, you might need medication prescribed by your doctor.
9. Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease have many risk factors in common, including obesity and physical inactivity.
10. See your doctor for regular check-ups. As you get older, it’s a good idea to regularly check your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.