Tuesday, March 28, 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. Complete the assessment by March 31, and you’re entered for a chance to win a Wellness Package from Life Time Athletic in Gaithersburg, MD. The prize includes a free personal and team training session, one free hair treatment, a Life Café certificate and water bottle.