Tuesday, March 24, is the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Alert Day. It is a day to raise awareness about the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the United States.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects 29 million Americans. Of those affected, 95% have Type 2 diabetes. This occurs mostly in adults and develops over time, causing glucose to build up in your blood. Type 1 diabetes is less common and is often diagnosed in children or young adults. Learn more about the differences between the two.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t regulate its blood glucose levels. It develops mainly because of lifestyle choices – poor diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and a history of smoking. Other risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes are:

  • Family history
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • More common in the African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American or Pacific-Islander populations

It’s important to know all your risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes because, in most cases, it can be prevented. Avni Jain, MD, a family medicine physician with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group, says Type 2 can be controlled and managed by eating a healthier diet and being more active. She also recommends the following tips to reduce your risk:

  • Start walking for at least 30 minutes a day, a few times a week.
  • Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking.
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Take the first step to prevent diabetes by taking Adventist HealthCare’s FREE, Diabetes Risk Assessment.