Did you know that 9.4% of the U.S. population had diabetes in 2015? The rate of this long-term disease is constantly increasing, so the percentage is much higher in 2017. And in 2019, more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t know they have it. More than 84 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it. (1)
People with diabetes have high blood glucose levels due to inadequate production or response to insulin. Over time, having too high blood sugar levels in the blood can cause serious health complications.
However, there’s another large group of people with prediabetes. This means a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but still not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Unlike diabetes, prediabetes is now recognized as a reversible condition.
You can prevent it from progressing into diabetes by making certain lifestyle and diet changes.
A few major causes of type 2 diabetes are obesity, bad diet, and aging. And if you think high sugar intake is one of the causes of diabetes, you’re wrong.
Nevertheless, here are 5 lesser-known risk factors that can help people avoid it, or prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.
5 Lesser-Known Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes
Air pollution, obesity, poor diet, and gum disease can all cause constant, mild inflammation in the body. In fact, inflammation is the body’s reaction to all of these factors.
If people have belly fat, then chances are they probably have ectopic fat. This type of fat secretes inflammatory chemicals and stores them in their liver and muscles.
This is exactly why obese women are 12 times more likely to get diabetes than women with a normal weight range. Also, obese men are 7 times more at risk.
People might have a genetic predisposition to develop ectopic fat without being obese, which means they still have chance of developing diabetes or prediabetes.
Vice versa, not all obese people have a predisposition to developing ectopic fat, so obesity doesn’t necessarily mean a higher risk of diabetes or prediabetes.
Nevertheless, losing excess belly fat is still a good thing for everyone. In fact, in order to lose the invisible ectopic fat, we should lose visible fat as well.
Mitochondria are organelles responsible for producing energy in our body cells. Moreover, they break down and recycle waste products on a cellular level, which is highly important for our bodies and health.
Some of these waste products are free radicals which can cause cell damage and lead to serious diseases. Antioxidants, on the other hand, help control free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
So, the lack of antioxidants in our body impedes the function of mitochondria, which causes a lack of insulin to manage blood glucose.
4. Emotional Stress
One research shows that experiencing at least one major misfortunate event, such as divorce, serious financial problems, or bereavement increases the risk of developing diabetes in the next 5 years. Also, anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, and anger are all linked to diabetes.
Stress increases cortisol levels, which can affect the production of blood sugar in the liver. What’s more, these people are more likely to eat poorly, gain weight, and avoid exercise.
Some of the medications connected to increased risk of type 2 diabetes include:
In such a case, we talk about drug-induced diabetes. However, the amount of medications that can increase the chances or contribute to diabetes is still unknown.
Tips to Prevent Prediabetes from Progressing into Diabetes
According to the clinical research study Diabetes Prevention Program, people with prediabetes can help prevent diabetes by making the following lifestyle and diet changes:
- Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week
- Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables; ¼ should be complex grain and legumes, and ¼ lean protein like fish, chicken, or lean red meat
- Skip vitamins, and try to add more antioxidant-rich foods to the diet, like green tea, blueberries, or broccoli.