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Are You At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes?

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Diabetes affects more than 20 million people  in the United States,  and many of those who have diabetes are older adults.

A study in The Journal  of the American Medical Association found that baby boomers-born between  1946 and 1964-are more likely to be obese and have diabetes compared to their  parents, despite significant medical advances during baby boomers’   lifetimes. The good news is older adults can take steps to prevent the more  common Type 2  diabetes.

“We know based on a large clinical trial, the Diabetes  Prevention Program, that the best way to prevent Type 2 diabetes is  through making healthy lifestyle choices,” said Marc Jaffe,  M.D., Kaiser Permanente endocrinologist. “Even small changes can  make a difference, and it is never too late to start making healthier  choices.”

Below are a few basic questions, answers and tips to help you understand  and prevent diabetes.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes And Why  Should I Care?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition. It prevents your body from turning  food into energy. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness,  kidney failure and amputation.

How Do I Know If I’m At Risk  For Developing Diabetes?

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include having prediabetes, being age 45  or older, having a family history of diabetes, being overweight, not  exercising regularly, having high blood pressure, having low HDL (also known  as “good” cholesterol) and/or high levels of triglycerides, being  a member of certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic Blacks,  Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and  American Indians and Alaska Natives), and being a woman who had gestational  diabetes.

How Do I Prevent Diabetes?

1) Stay At A Healthy Weight. A  healthy weight is one that is right for your body type and height and is  based on your body mass index (BMI) and the size of your waist. Losing as  little as five to 10 pounds can make a big difference in your risk of  developing diabetes, and can also improve your blood pressure, cholesterol,  mood and self-confidence. Maintaining  your weight is also important, because the natural tendency is to gain  weight as you age. So if you don’t gain weight, that’s a victory,  too.

2) Exercise Regularly. Exercise 150  minutes a week. Try walking 30 minutes a day at least five days every  week. It’s fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout  your day and week. If you’re able, walk the stairs instead of taking  the elevator. It’s wise to check with your physician before starting an  exercise program.

3) Eat Healthy. Eat a balanced  diet, including whole grains, lean sources of protein, and vegetables. Lose  weight if you need to, by eating  fewer calories and exercising more. For example, try having a salad  instead of pizza.

4) Quit Smoking. Although  tobacco does not increase the chances of diabetes, it can increase the  chances of heart attack and stroke, so it is especially important to avoid  tobacco if you are also at risk of developing diabetes.

To learn more about diabetes, visit www.kp.org  and click the health & wellness tab. Also, check out www.kp.org/carestories  for videos about diabetes and other conditions. For questions and advice  about a specific condition, consult with your physician.

• Marc Jaffe, M.D., is a  Kaiser Permanente endocrinologist and internist at Kaiser Permanente    South San Francisco Medical Center.  He also works with the organization’s Cardiovascular  Risk Reduction Program, known as the PHASE program, to develop ways to  improve cardiovascular health for members throughout Kaiser Permanente.