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Nine Surprising Diabetes Risks For Texans

Aug 18, 2007
Many individuals in Dallas, Houston and other places around Texas don't know that they may be slowly working toward a permanent, chronic disease -- diabetes. Untreated, diabetes can lead to heart and blood pressure problems, dependence on insulin shots, blindness, neuropathy and an early death. Here are nine risks for you to evaluate:

1. Watching two plus hours of TV daily.
Increases your risk: 14%
How: More hours in front of the tube equals less activity.
The fix: Limit TV time to 10 hours a week and get off the couch and move around. Take a walk. Go for a swim. Enjoy life outdoors.

2. Drinking one soda daily -if at all.
Increases your risk: 83%
How: Soda adds extra and empty calories, which can easily lead to weight gain. Most non-diet pops are full of sugar. More than you'll probably add to your coffee.
The fix: Switch to water, diet soda, or even better, unsweetened tea, which actually protects against disease. Green teas are gaining in popularity because of their health benefits.

3. Skipping breakfast.
Increases your risk: almost 50%
How: Not having that morning meal increases the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, making you hungrier and, as a result, you're actually more likely to eat more.
The fix: Eat high-fiber cereal with low-fat milk and one-half cup of fruit in the morning. One study of people with pre-diabetes found that eating high-fiber cereals made their cells respond better to insulin. Consuming dairy products may also cut the risk for insulin resistance by 72%.

4. Major depression
Increases your risk: 23%
How: Depression may alter body chemistry in a way that makes us more prone to developing diabetes.
The fix: Exercise. Even taking a walk, just 30 minutes, three times a week, has been shown to improve symptoms of depression.

5. A large waist line, even if you are of a normal weight.
Increases your risk: 330%
How: Fat in the abdomen produces compounds that make cells insulin-resistant. Women should keep their waist size below 35 inches and 40 inches for men.
The fix: A half-hour to one hour of cardio, three to five times a week.

6. Waking up in the middle of the night.
Increases your risk: 98%
How: Middle-of-the-night awakenings means you're not getting enough sleep, making you more prone to developing insulin resistance, leading to diabetes.
The fix: No caffeine in the late afternoon and evening. No TV and alcohol right before bed. Try yoga or meditation to relax.

7. Consuming fast food more than twice weekly.
Increases your risk: 100%
How: Individuals who eat burgers, fries and soda more than twice a week put on 10 extra pounds and were twice as likely to become resistant to insulin.
The fix: Stay away from fast food dining. And if you have to eat it, satisfy cravings with smaller portions.

8. High stress.
Increases your risk: 184%
How: Constant high stress can interfere with your ability to make insulin and process glucose.
The fix: Allow 10-15 minutes a day to relax. Try yoga or meditation.

9. Consuming lots of processed meats.
Increases your risk: 43%
How: These meats, like hot dogs, bacon and salami, are loaded with preservatives that may destroy insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.
The fix: Cut back on these meats or eliminate them from your diet altogether. A recent Harvard University study found that women who ate these meats less than once a week had the lowest risk. If you need to satisfy a craving, try preservative-free brands.

It's important to take care of yourself; from what you eat to how active you are on a daily basis. And how you treat your body when you're young will certainly affect your health when you get older. Eventually, it will also affect your wallet as well.
About the Author
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com
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