Are you giving yourself diabetes?

Some risk factors for diabetes you can't control, but here are 7 that you can.

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  • Diabetes is a frightening disease, even more so when you think about how genetics and family history, even age, race, and gender, play into its diagnosis. In some cases, no matter how healthy you live, you are still at great risk for getting diabetes just because of these factors that you have no power over.

  • While developing diabetes is often out of your control, there are still things you can change or be aware of to limit your risk. Take a health assessment if you are still afraid that you may have a greater risk of diabetes. But also, see what you can do to help reduce the risk:

  • Are you skipping breakfast?

  • There are many statistics about why you shouldn't skip breakfast, but one study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said that missing even just one breakfast a week increases your risk of diabetes by 20%. It all has to do with maintaining healthy insulin levels. When you sleep, your insulin levels stay at a plateau, not extremely high or outrageously low. However, when you skip breakfast, those insulin levels plummet, only to spike again when you finally eat lunch. Such extreme changes in insulin could increase your risk of diabetes.

  • Are you drinking soda?

  • Even people less familiar with the disease know that consuming too much sugar could be a factor in gaining diabetes. However, it's not so much the sugar intake that makes sugary drinks and desserts such a problem, it's how much weight you gain from them. When a person is overweight, their body naturally experiences chemical changes that affect their body's ability to produce enough insulin. The more weight you gain, the more insulin your body has to make to control your glucose levels, but when it can't keep up, your risk for diabetes is greatly multiplied.

  • Are you not sleeping enough?

  • How much sleep you get may be just as important as what you eat. When your body doesn't get enough sleep, you feel drowsy and with little energy. This reaction is similar to "insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes," when your body stops or is insufficiently converting glucose into energy. When you're dragging after pulling an all-nighter, it may not be just the fatigue getting you down, but a possible sign of diabetes.

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  • Are you depressed?

  • Depression has been listed as a side effect of diabetes, but recent studies have also found that depression could even be a risk factor of diabetes. In one study, subjects with depression had a 63% increased risk of diabetes. In fact, some physicians believe that depression and diabetes are synonymous diseases, both characterized by powerlessness and a lack of energy that they inflict upon their patients.

  • Are you watching too much TV?

  • How much time do you spend actively up and about, rather than just sitting down? It's nice to relax after a long day, but too much of this sedentary time can be increasing your risk of diabetes. If you work seated at a computer all day or sit and watch TV for hours, every hour spent without some kind of active behavior increases your "risk of developing diabetes by 3.4%". Even just getting up every half an hour can help keep your body active and decreases this risk.

  • Are you sweating?

  • If you really want to be active, though, but the fit life is not for you, start with smaller physical exercises and work your way up. One study showed that if you get in at least 20 minutes of exercise, three or four days of the week, you reduce your risk of diabetes, but it needs to be exercise that makes you sweat. As your body becomes more accustomed to these smaller exercises, you will sweat less. When you notice this happening, add something new into your workout routine.

  • But what else can you do?

  • Even by changing these daily habits, you still have other factors to worry about that you can't control. Learn if there is a history of diabetes in your family, or if you are at greater risk because of your age. If you are at risk, be sure to get tested and look for the signs. With MyHealth Assessment, for example, you can even take an assessment online to receive personalized statements about what you need to do to reduce your risk of diabetes, straight from doctors and other health professionals in the <a href="tel:844-771-0022">MyHealth Pass</a> program. You can also use online patient advocacy programs to find local health facilities and book appointments with physicians who specialize in diabetes and diseases of the endocrine system.

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  • Although you can't change where you came from, you can choose where to go from here, so choose to live a little healthier. You'll reduce your risk of diabetes, but also just feel better, which is worth the effort.

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Emily interned as a BrandView content writer with FamilyShare.com. She has also worked as a writing tutor and a volunteer creative writing editor. But if you want the more honest answer as to who Emily really is, she would describe herself as an avid bacon lover and film buff, with Grace Kelly class and an irrational fear of stairs.

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