Do you have a family member who was diagnosed with diabetes? If so, you may be wondering how to prevent diabetes with a family history that places you at a greater risk. While a family history of diabetes does mean that you're more likely to develop it yourself, there are still several things you can do to help prevent or slow down the development of diabetes.
If you're worried about developing diabetes and want to know what to do if diabetes runs in your family, this article will help you understand the steps you can take to help keep diabetes at bay.
Will I get diabetes if it runs in my family?
It is well known that genetic factors play a large role in the development of diabetes. For example, children whose parents are both type 1 diabetics are much more likely to develop type 1 diabetes later in life than children who have only one diabetic parent or who were not born to diabetic parents.
Similarly, type 2 diabetes is strongly affected by genetics. People who have a family history of type 2 diabetes — not just parents, but siblings or other relations — are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
However, genes aren't the only factor contributing to diabetes. Environmental differences also play a huge role. Exercise habits, diet, and other lifestyle choices can influence whether or not diabetes develops and how quickly it appears. This means that even if you're predisposed to diabetes, there are several things you can do to help prevent or mitigate the condition.
How to prevent diabetes if it runs in the family
Just because you have a family history of diabetes doesn't mean that you're destined to develop diabetes, especially if you do your best to follow preventative measures. If you have a family history of diabetes, there are several things you can do that may help slow the progression of diabetes.
1. Be aware of your family history
It's important to understand your family health history. Doing so will help you prepare for potential future health disturbances and allow you to invest time and effort into preventative care. If you have a family history of diabetes, it's important to keep up to date with testing, even if you haven't experienced any symptoms of diabetes.
2. Exercise regularly
Physical activity is one of the best choices you can make to help prevent or manage diabetes. Exercise offers a host of wonderful benefits, from maintaining a healthy weight to improving your mood. It can also help you strengthen your muscles, increase blood circulation, lower blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and contribute to your overall health and well-being.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week and work on muscle-building exercise at least twice a week. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) further recommends moving for a few minutes every half hour, especially during long periods of sitting or other sedentary behavior.
3. Make healthy diet choices
Remember, your family history isn't the only factor that determines whether or not you develop diabetes. For many people, it's not even the most important factor! Making the right lifestyle choices may be all you need to do to prevent or manage some types of diabetes. Most people will benefit from a diet that:
- Limits sugars and processed food products.
- Is full of whole grains and whole carbs.
- Includes some healthy fats.
- Sticks to lean and plant-based proteins.
- Contains plenty of non-starchy vegetables.
4. Avoid smoking, drinking, and using recreational substances
Smoking can greatly increase your risk of diabetes — in fact, according to the CDC, smokers have a 40% greater chance of developing diabetes than nonsmokers. This is because smoking causes inflammation throughout the body and injures your cells. Nicotine — the addictive chemical found in tobacco — can also decrease insulin sensitivity and make it more difficult to keep blood glucose levels under control.
Likewise, alcoholism can make it much more difficult to control your blood sugar levels and may result in nutrition or vitamin deficiencies that can lead to additional complications. Substance abuse may also play a role in the development of diabetes, though more studies are needed.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
Overweight or obese individuals are much more likely to develop certain types of diabetes, as excess weight makes it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels and can reduce insulin sensitivity. If you aren't at an ideal weight, it can be helpful to make small changes to your diet and exercise routine to help shed extra pounds. Some people have even turned to surgery to help get their weight under control.
How to prevent diabetes when it runs in the family: a note for parents
What do you do if you're a parent and diabetes runs in your family? Many parents are concerned about their child's risk of developing diabetes. Luckily, though, there are several things you can do to help your child avoid this common health condition.
The single greatest thing that parents can do to help prevent diabetes in children is to model good lifestyle habits. Even though genetics do play a role, habits and lifestyle choices can be equally — if not more — defining.
Do your best to encourage children to make healthy food choices and get the right amount of physical activity each day by modeling these behaviors yourself.
After diagnosis: what to do if you develop diabetes
What happens if you do develop diabetes? Rest assured that there are many things you can do to help manage your condition and prevent it from progressing so that you can still enjoy a high quality of life. All of the preventative measures mentioned above are also excellent ways to manage diabetes if it does develop.
The key to effectively managing diabetes is to catch it early and put your treatment plan into action as soon as possible. Doing so will not only help slow the progression of the disease but can also prevent additional complications and conditions such as diabetic neuropathy.
Of course, when lifestyle changes aren't enough, there are also plenty of other treatment options designed to help you manage your diabetes and any associated symptoms. Acupuncture, therapy, medication, and massage are just a few of the many options available. Aids such as diabetic socks and compression socks are also must-have tools for diabetic patients.
Buy diabetic socks online at Viasox
Foot problems are one of the most common issues associated with diabetes. Luckily, our team at Viasox recognizes the need for quality foot care — that's why we're proud to offer functional and fashionable diabetic socks and compression socks to help diabetic patients protect their feet from damage, injury, and infection.
Our socks aren't just great for keeping your feet warm — they're specially designed with your comfort and safety in mind. Made with high-quality materials, super-stretchy fabric, and antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties, our socks are a wardrobe staple for anyone living with diabetes or neuropathy. We stock a huge range of socks in a variety of styles, lengths, colors, and sizes to ensure that everyone will find a pair that's right for them.
Shop online with us today to browse our entire collection of non-binding diabetic socks and compression socks, or reach out to our friendly team for help with placing your order.