Ann, who formerly worked caring for the elderly, learned firsthand how chronic conditions could impact you as you age. So this year after looking at her 23andMe reports, she decided to carve out time to address her own health.
“I feel I have been given a chance to improve and enrich my health, all thanks to 23andMe,” Ann said.
When Ann used 23andMe, it was to help her son learn more about his heritage and background. But in looking at her own results, she saw she had an increased genetic likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. She didn’t need her nursing training to know this was not something to take lightly. She decided to take action.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where blood sugar is too high. It can develop when your body is unable to make enough insulin and/or respond properly to insulin. An estimated 34 million Americans — or about one in 10 adults in the United States — have type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Strikingly, one in five people don’t know they have it. Many others who are prediabetic, about 88 million adults in the United States, don’t even know they are at increased risk. Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk for life-threatening complications, such as heart disease and other organ damage. But, simple changes like eating healthy and getting more exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes and the complications that can follow.
23andMe’s Type 2 Diabetes report (Powered by 23andMe Research) estimates your chances of developing the condition by looking at more than 1,000 places in your DNA. It also equips you with information and tools to help you take action since healthy living can help lower your chance of developing it.
With this knowledge from her 23andMe report, Ann and her husband decided to take action to get healthier. After several surgeries, they had both become more sedentary and Ann’s DNA insights inspired them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. They didn’t make any big changes or join any gyms, but they did start walking their dog more, gardening and biking. Ann also bought a new health-focused cookbook and has been making recipes from it ever since.
Ann and her husband are shocked at how much better food tastes without all the added sugars and fake flavor additives they had used in the past.
“It’s been like a wake-up call for my taste buds. They’ve come alive,” Ann said. They’ve also cut back significantly on sweets. What was once fondly known as their “Blues Drawer” (the vegetable drawer in their fridge filled with chocolate they would dive into when feeling “blue”) hasn’t been refilled since the day Ann opened her reports. While they still indulge from time to time, it’s more about satisfying a craving than overindulging.
Since making all these changes, Ann and her husband have not only lost weight but generally, just feel better. They love the new recipes they are making and the projects they are working on together.
“This was something positive I could do,” Ann said.