According to a study by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), as many as 25 percent of the U.S. population age 65 and up has diabetes. Type 2 diabetes poses an especially high number of health risks for seniors, including higher mortality, reduced functionality, and severe microvascular and cardiovascular complications (including heart disease). Diabetes is a serious issue, but luckily, you can employ several strategies to prevent diabetes as you enter your golden years.
Strategies to Prevent Diabetes
Assess Your Risk
Pay attention to several type 2 diabetes risk factors. Many of these risk factors come down to your genes, as well as your lifestyle:
- A family history of diabetes
- Having prediabetes or gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Being overweight or obese
- Having high blood pressure
- Identifying as an African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic, Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
- Having given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
- A history of heart disease or stroke
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Alcohol abuse
Cut Out Smoking
Smoking can dramatically increase your insulin resistance, which is a major component of type 2 diabetes. If you are a smoker who is serious about strategies to prevent diabetes, quitting smoking should be your first step. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit or dramatically cut back on cigarettes.
Reduce Your Body Fat
Losing excess weight – and keeping it off – might be tough, but it’s an important part of diabetes prevention as you get older. The good news is that every little bit helps. If you are currently overweight, you can prevent or delay diabetes by losing just five percent of your current weight. Keeping the weight off is also a key factor, so make sure not to rely on crash diets, which inevitably fail. You can reduce your body fat by watching the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, which is a matter of reducing your portions and working to stay away from fat and sugar. You should also try to work a variety of foods into your diet, eating plenty of proteins, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t restrict yourself too much – any improvement in your diet is a step in the right direction.
An inactive lifestyle is one of the major predictors of diabetes. Not only does getting more exercise reduce your risk of diabetes, but also it can reduce your weight and lower your blood sugar levels, staving off other health problems. Doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Unfortunately, exercise can be tricky as you get older and potentially run into mobility issues. If you’re struggling to fit exercise into your day, work with your doctor to find types of exercise that work well for you. That could be anything from a relaxing walk or weekly golfing session to group fitness classes like water aerobics.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in the United States, but we encourage you to implement the above strategies to prevent diabetes. Not only will these strategies help stave off diabetes, but also they’ll help you feel healthier and happier throughout your golden years.
At Springhouse Village, we know how important it is to enjoy your retirement in a lively and welcoming environment. We make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community. Whether that means encouraging residents to shop at local farmers markets or assisting them in starting a garden club, we strive to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the amenities and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today.