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Beating the Genetics of Diabetes

Q: I have a strong family history of type II diabetes and I feel like I'm doomed to repeat it. I am 35 years old. Is there anything I can do to change my destiny?

Dr. Donnica:
You are right to be concerned. Family history is one of the biggest risk factors for type II diabetes. But genetics isn't destiny in this case; reducing other risk factors could help you prevent diabetes altogether.

Here's how you can do your best to prevent diabetes:

  1. Get tested to make sure you don't already have type II diabetes without knowing it.

  2. Maintain a healthy weight. You may want to eat as though you already have the condition! The American Diabetic Association (ADA) recommends weight management through a low-fat diet and exercise to improve one's response to insulin. They also recommend reducing calories, which can help people with diabetes maintain more stable blood glucose; restricting fat, which has been shown to lead to longer-term weight loss; consuming no more than 20% of calories from protein; and consuming less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat.

  3. Get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times per week.

Created: 1/10/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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