What is my diabetes risk?

Type 1 diabetes often occurs at an early age and is unpredictable. This kind of diabetes is autoimmune. The pancreas is attacked and stops making insulin.

Type 2 diabetes may develop as a result of a combination of genetics and lifestyle.

Known risk factors that may increase your risk for type 2 diabetes:

• Age greater than 45 years

• Excess body weight (especially around the waist)

• Family history of diabetes

• Diabetes during a past pregnancy

• Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

• Low levels of HDL[1], the "good" cholesterol in the bloodstream

• High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the bloodstream

• High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 140/ 90 mmHg)

• Pre-diabetes

• Low activity level

• Poor diet

Is there an online tool to check for diabetes?

Diabetes PHD (Personal Health Divisions), offered by the American Diabetes Association, is an interactive risk-assessment tool on its Web site. To complete a Diabetes PHD analysis, visit diabetes.org/diabetesphd. You will be asked to enter as much as you can about your health history and medications. Once completed, Diabetes PHD measures your future risk for developing diabetes, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and foot and eye complications.

You can change certain variables in your profile, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, to see how making positive changes will improve your future health.

How can exercise help with my diabetes?

• Help you feel better physically and mentally

• Improve your strength, flexibility, and endurance

• Help your insulin work better

• Lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol

• Reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke

• Strengthen your heart, muscles, and bones

• Improve your blood circulation and keep your joints flexible

• Exercise can lower your blood glucose for many hours and is beneficial for your heart, muscles, mood, weight, and confidence.

If you are considering an exercise program, consult your doctor first to determine a plan that will work for you.

What is osteoporosis?

Even though they may not look like it, our bones are living, growing structures. Old bone cells die and new ones replace them for as long as we live. Over time, bone cells may die faster than they are replaced. The result is osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones.

Osteoporosis is the leading cause of hip and spinal fractures. Fractures of the hip can cause permanent disability, increased hospitalization, and can lead to other serious complications. Women are affected by osteoporosis more than men because they tend to be smaller in structure and therefore have less bone mass. Menopause decreases estrogen production in women and as a result causes bone loss to occur more quickly. Some people will be able to manage their osteoporosis with diet and exercise, and others may require treatment with prescription medication. Your doctor will use your complete medical history to give you treatment options.

What are risk factors for osteoporosis?

• Family history of osteoporosis

• Smoking (smoking is linked to bone loss)

• Weighing less than 127 pounds (the lighter you are, the less demand you put on bones and the weaker they become)

• Early menopause before age 45 and low estrogen levels for women

• Low testosterone in men

• Excessive alcohol use (drinking too much alcohol can cause nutritional deficiencies)

• Long-term use of steroids

What can I do to manage osteoporosis?


Early testing is important. Although we have good treatments for osteoporosis, there is no cure. You can have your bone mineral density tested in a non-invasive manner.

Eat Healthy

The body needs calcium to build bone. Make sure your diet is rich in calcium by eating green vegetables, like broccoli and spinach. Dairy products are a great source of calcium. Your body needs vitamin D in order for your bones to absorb calcium. Most fortified dairy products contain vitamin D, but other sources include sunlight exposure, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. If you have trouble getting enough calcium and vitamin D, calcium and vitamin D supplements might be helpful.

Stay Active

Weight-bearing exercise and resistance training can help build and maintain strong bones. Aerobic exercise can also keep bones healthy. Exercise signals your body to strengthen bone. Jogging, walking, dancing, and stair climbing are all good ways to stay active. Adding even a little resistance to your aerobic exercise will help build stronger bones. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise plan.

  • [1] High-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol.
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