5 Causes of Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

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Big Waistline = Big Problems: Obesity 

Obesity is by far the number-one diabetes risk factor that can be avoided with simple lifestyle changes. The ADA says losing just 10 to 15 pounds can make a significant difference in your ability to avoid development of Type 2 diabetes. 

Obesity is a major issue, especially when you consider it contributes to nearly every other risk factor listed below. There is nothing good to say about those extra pounds and the detrimental impact they have on your health. So your number-one focus in staving off diabetes should be to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or less. Excess body fat also plays a role in causing diabetes, and you should strive for a waistline of 40 inches or less for men and 35 inches or less for women. 

No Piece de Resistance: Insulin Resistance 

Insulin resistance is linked to obesity, although it is also caused by some endocrine disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Also known as metabolic syndrome, this condition occurs when your body's cells have a diminished response to insulin. When the body's cells do not properly respond, the pancreas takes the inactivity as a sign to create more insulin. 

Over time, high insulin levels become unable to compensate for the elevated sugar levels and patients develop diabetes. Insulin resistance is treatable, mainly by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. There are also medications such as Metformin that help decrease the overproduction of glucose in the liver and lower blood sugar. Such drugs reportedly decrease insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity, while returning the endocrine system to more normal function.