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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Quit smoking. Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers.
- 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.
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease have many risk factors in common, including obesity and physical inactivity.
- 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.
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