Type 2 diabetes: Risks and prevention

10 June 2014

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body either does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar or does not properly use the insulin it makes, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes can cause significant health complications, including heart disease, nerve and kidney damage, impotence, blindness, osteoporosis, and decreased blood circulation to the feet (which can lead to amputation). Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which is a condition where the body is unable to produce any insulin, there are ways to prevent or delay onset of the disease.

  • Exercise regularly: Your body uses sugar to create energy. Physical activity helps to move sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, reducing blood sugar buildup (while also improving circulation, strength, and lung capacity).
  • Eat healthy meals and snacks: Take control of the amount of refined sugar and fat you eat. Focus your meals on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are high in fiber and low in fat.
  • Aim for a healthy body weight: You are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, especially if you carry most of your weight around your middle.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes is on the rise, in correlation with an aging population, increasing obesity rates in both adults and children, and more sedentary lifestyles. Lifestyle, age, a family history of diabetes, ethnicity, and other factors can have an impact on the risk of developing the disease.

To learn more about diabetes risk factors and ways to manage the disease, visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.ca.