If you are managing diabetes, you’ve probably gotten used to receiving all kinds of advice from friends, family, or even online. Believe it or not, some of the information out there is simply wrong. With help from the American Diabetes Association, we are here to help set the record straight and separate the facts from the myths.

One of the most common myths is that gaining weight is the only way you can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. While being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, it is not the only one. In fact, many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only slightly overweight.

What are the other risk factors?

There are both uncontrollable and controllable risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The uncontrollable risk factors include age, race, gender, and family history. Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age. African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and American Indians are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and males are more likely to develop diabetes than females. If your mother, father, brother, or sister has heart disease or diabetes, your risk will also go up.

How can I lower my risk? 

While unfortunately there is not much you can do about the risk factors above, there are some lifestyle modifications you can make to help lower your risk. Firstly, as we previously discussed, being overweight is not the only risk factor for diabetes. Getting to a healthy weight, or even losing 10-15 pounds, will help you prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. Staying active by getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week and eating a healthy diet are key to reaching weight loss goals and lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes. Managing stress and getting enough sleep are important, as well.

If you are interested in finding out your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you can use this online risk test from the American Diabetes Association.

And now that you have the knowledge, the next step is putting it into action! If lingering questions or concerns are holding you back, talk to your Health Advisor. We’re here to help.

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