World Diabetes Day

Like many of the world’s most vexing health problems, the simplest of strategies could go a long way in combating the scourge idf__wdd-logo-newof Type 2 diabetes.

As World Diabetes Day fast approaches, we thought we’d take a moment to bring a little more awareness to this chronic disease that affects more than 400 million people worldwide. Although genetics, family history and age all contribute to the risk for Type 2 diabetes, many cases could be prevented or the symptoms lessened with simple lifestyle changes.

Becoming more active, losing weight and eating healthy can help reduce the risk in most individuals, according to the International Diabetes Foundation. Early screening for the disease could also help in staving off some of the most serious consequences of this chronic disease, because up to half of those who have Type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it. Left undetected, it could lead to serious complications like blindness, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and amputation of the lower limbs.

23andMe does not report on the risk for diabetes, but it does offer customers a report on how their genetics may influence how food high in saturated fat affects their weight. For some individuals, a diet high in saturated fat may make them more likely to weigh more. Knowing this may be helpful for those people tracking their response to diet, and maintaining a healthy weight is one way to reduce the risk for condition diabetes and other conditions like heart disease. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, but you don’t have to be overweight to develop the condition.

There are two forms of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Both forms of the disease relate to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

In Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. It typically develops in childhood, and patients must take injections to produce the insulin they need to survive. In Type 2, which is by far the most common form of the disease and develops most often in adults, the body is unable to efficiently use the insulin it produces. Diet can play a role in Type 2 diabetes because in some cases the more fat tissue a person has, the more resistant their cells become to insulin.

To learn more about diabetes and World Diabetes Day go here.