Changing your lifestyle can change risk for diabetes

- Changing your lifestyle can also change your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Ninety percent of people walking around with pre-diabetes don't know they have it. Controlling your risk for that disease and even reversing the diagnoses is do-able, but you need to know the right steps.

Type two diabetes used to be thought of as a life-long sentence with devastating consequences.

"When blood sugar goes up it causes damage by putting stress on the cardiovascular system," says Henry Ford endocrinologist Dr. Arti Bhan. "That's why you get heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease."

She explains, the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes are obesity and lack of physical activity. 

"Your cells are so filled with fat that they can't handle insulin very well, and your blood sugars rise," Dr. Bhan says.

Usually, there aren't symptoms that come with the beginning stages of type two diabetes. But, there are three numbers you should know.

"So, the ABCs is diabetes is the A stands for A1C, which is the three-month average of your blood glucose; the B stands for blood pressure, and you need to know where your target blood pressure is; and C stands for cholesterol.

Once you know your risk factors, you figure out what you can change to improve your odds. For many of us, it's the food choices.

Losing a little bit of weight can make a big difference.

"If you lost seven percent of your body weight, you can reduce your risk of diabetes by at least 60 percent," says Dr. Bhan.

The impact of diabetes is not only physically costly, but financially. The diabetes effect, that's heart disease, kidney disease, dialysis and medication, adds up to $322 billion a year in the United States alone.

The doctor says there's no way we can sustain that as a country, so we need to focus on prevention.

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