Most diabetes risk factors are fairly well known in the general population. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 9% of adults (over age 18) around the globe suffer from diabetes. In 2012, the last year data was reported, diabetes directly caused the deaths of 1.5 million people worldwide.
Diabetes is classified by two distinct types.
- Type 1 Diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes) is not preventable or curable. It requires an incredible attention to diet and lifestyle as well as maintenance medication. Those affected by type 1 diabetes represent less than 10% of patients
Symptoms can manifest suddenly and lead to medical distress. The risk factors for developing type 1 are largely unknown but scientists believe genetics (family history), environment (toxin exposure), immune dysfunction, and geographic location (Finland and Sweden have the highest rate of type 1 patients in the world) increase your personal risk.
- Type 2 Diabetes (also known as adult-onset diabetes) is preventable and curable. Experts are unanimous that it can be prevented with proper diet and lifestyle choices. Cases of type 2 diabetes represent more than 90% of patients
Symptoms may be mild initially and this could mean that patients are misdiagnosed or don’t seek medical attention until they’ve passed pre-diabetes (when blood glucose levels are consistently above normal but not yet in diabetes territory).
The second type was once almost exclusively seen in adult patients but as obesity levels soar and a more sedentary lifestyle becomes the norm, more children are being diagnosed as well.
Due to the fact that it is preventable and curable yet makes up such a large majority of diagnosed cases, it is important to know the causes so you can adjust your own lifestyle and nutrition to avoid it. Almost all patients have one of these causes at the root of the disease.
Top 7 Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
- Lack of exercise makes it harder for your cells to process glucose properly and over time, a sensitivity to insulin may develop.
- The more fatty tissue you possess, the higher your risk. Obesity is a leading risk factor in more than 60 serious diseases or conditions, including diabetes.
- If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Giving birth to babies weighing more than nine pounds also increases your risk, though doctors are uncertain why.
- Some races have a higher risk. African American, Native American, Hispanics, and Asian Americans have the largest numbers of type 2 diabetes.
- Having immediate family with type 2 diabetes may raise your personal risk.
- As you age, your risk of diabetes rises. This is likely because older people tend to exercise less and therefore don’t use glucose as efficiently.
- Other seemingly unrelated health issues such as high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol or triglyceride levels, low “good” cholesterol levels, or polycystic ovary syndrome (severe or irregular menstruation) have been shown to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you are immediately at risk for other serious conditions. Your body is a top of the line machine but one function breaking down can cause distress and dysfunction in many of your other organs and symptoms.
- Heart disease. WHO reported on one study that found half of diabetes patients die of heart attack or stroke. The risk of high blood pressure, chest pain, and hardening of the arteries is greater with diabetics.
- Nerve damage. Neuropathy is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation in the world. It also leads to loss of feeling, erratic digestive distress, and erectile dysfunction.
- Blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is long-term damage to the blood vessels in the eye. Experts estimate that 1% of global blindness is due to this accumulated damage. Hearing problems are also more commonly diagnosed in diabetics.
- Kidney damage. Over time, diabetes damages tiny blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste. Eventually, this can lead to kidney failure resulting in dialysis or the necessity for a kidney transplant.
- Neurodegenerative disease. Alzheimer’s has been called type 3 diabetes due to the similar diabetes risk factors both diseases have. Many studies have found a correlation between blood sugar and cognitive deterioration but much more research needs to be done.
Lower Your Diabetes Risk Factors with Morning Coffee?
In the scientific journal for the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Diabetolgia, researchers published their findings based on coffee consumption.
By increasing daily intake by as little as one cup, it was shown to reduce diabetes bio-markers by 11% over four year increments in study participants. Conversely, those who lowered their coffee intake over the same four years raised their risk by 17% overall.
Led by a team from the Harvard School of Public Health, scientists evaluated the findings of three independent studies that were ongoing in the United States and took place over two decades. It included data from almost 100,000 women and more than 27,000 men.
Those who reported drinking at least three cups per day had a 37% lower risk than those participants who consumed one cup or less each day. Running parallel testing with tea, researchers found no change in diabetic risk factors.
More coffee consumption equaled lower risk of developing diabetes. Decreasing coffee during the study (likely due to doctor recommendations) raised risk.
The authors explained, “Changes in coffee consumption habits appear to affect diabetes risk in a relatively short amount of time. Our findings confirm those of prospective studies that higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower type 2 diabetes risk and provide novel evidence that changes in coffee consumption habits are related to diabetes risk.”
This is excellent news for those of us who can’t go without our morning java. Other incredible benefits of coffee include making you more alert, increase overall brain cognition, help you burn more fat, lower your risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, lower cancer risk, and improve mood. Best of all, it provides a pop of antioxidants that a large number of the population actually consumes…when they don’t eat healthy otherwise.
In other words, make good nutrition choices, develop a healthy lifestyle routine, and drink your morning coffee to lower your diabetes risk factors!