Previously, we discussed the factors that comprise metabolic syndrome and place individuals at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Nonetheless, conditions encompassed by metabolic syndrome are not the only factors which determine a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Frustratingly, some individuals seem inherently more inclined to develop the disease than others. While researchers still do not understand the precise interplay among risk factors, it is clear that certain criteria do increase risk.
Here are some of the factors to consider when analyzing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes:
Being overweight is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Specifically, the greater the amount of fatty tissue a person has, the more resistant their cells are to insulin. Moreover, fat distribution is also a telling indicator as patients whose body fat is concentrated in the abdomen face a greater risk than those who store it elsewhere, such as the hips. Visceral fat, or the deep abdominal fat surrounding your organs, also has an inflammatory impact on the body, increasing risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and potentiating other age-related risk factors.
One obstacle that has impeded physicians’ ability to determine weight-related risks is the fact that measuring fatty tissue and its distribution is not as simple as calculating BMI and, in fact, determining what is considered “overweight” might not be as simple as we once thought it was. Body mass index was historically the golden standard for determining healthy weight ranges by height. However, there are patients who do not meet BMI criteria for obesity but do have excess body fat. Conversely, some individuals may have a higher composition of muscle and are considered overweight for their height according to BMI. For this reason, using a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan is the best way to measure actual body fat and thereby give physicians insight into a patient’s risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. DXA scans are encompassed by the initial testing performed for all Cenegenics patients.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can be a precursor for type 2 diabetes. It is well-established that regular exercise contributes to reducing obesity and, in turn, diabetes. Sedentary activities such as watching TV for long periods of time are strongly associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, research confirms men who watch more than 40 hours of TV per week face a nearly threefold increase in risk compared to those who watch less than one hour . Thus, while diet plays an important role in controlling risk factors, physical activity cannot be overlooked.
If a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes, you face a greater risk of developing the disease. However, the disease does not have a clear pattern of inheritance, and researchers suspect that while shared genetic factors may contribute, the increased risk is also a result of shared behaviors .
Perhaps one of the most obvious risk factors for type 2 diabetes is poor diet. Sugary drinks, processed carbohydrates, red and processed meats, and trans fats should all be avoided or consumed sparingly, and alcohol consumption should also be controlled.
Your body’s ability to break down the storage of fatty acid molecules (lipids) for energy is referred to as lipid metabolism. Lipids can signal many cellular responses, and the more inflammatory fatty acids eaten, the more they shift the inflammatory balance and gene transcription. Poor lipid metabolism can lead to high cholesterol, contributing to an elevated risk for type 2 diabetes.
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While the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age, some researchers believe this is largely due to increased inactivity that comes with aging. Lost muscle mass and weight gain can increase diabetes risk .
In the final section, we will discuss some of the ways Cenegenics helps you address these risk factors, as well as how our clinicians help type 2 diabetes patients regain control over their disease to enjoy an improved quality of life.
While examining diabetes risk factors can be overwhelming for adults in their middle ages and beyond, it is important to remember that, again, type 2 diabetes is often preventable – even for patients who have been diagnosed with prediabetes. With proven approaches backed by science, Cenegenics clinicians promptly establish an all-encompassing exercise and nutrition plan. The first priority is not necessarily to facilitate weight loss, but instead to improve the all-important measure of insulin sensitivity.
To decrease high levels of insulin caused by insulin resistance, Cenegenics physicians will develop a tailored nutrition program with an emphasis on whole food sources. Vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, and other lean sources of protein are some examples of foods that can facilitate a healthy insulin response.
The clinical team will also compose an exercise program based on your current physical fitness levels. High-intensity interval training is considered most effective for losing and controlling weight as it requires a minimal time investment yet pushes the body to burn calories, boost metabolism, and improve heart health. With that said, patients who have been sedentary for long periods of time may be eased into exercise with appropriately challenging routines.
Following the initial assessment and plan development, Cenegenics collects lab values from blood draws at specific intervals to closely monitor insulin resistance and ensure improvement is being made. Once high levels of insulin are brought under control, then the body can improve the utilization of fuel sources during exercise, allowing weight loss to occur more appropriately.
Those with type 2 diabetes or near diagnosis can also benefit from the proactive and attentive care provided by Cenegenics clinicians. By processing lab work and regularly observing patients’ biomarkers, our clinical team is able to dynamically adjust the approach needed to facilitate the best possible outcome to control diabetes or drastically reduce your risk.
Research shows lifestyle changes are enough to reduce the risk of progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes by more than 58% . Yet, while most individuals know that avoiding or controlling diabetes demands a reassessment of certain lifestyle factors, they are often left unsure of the best place to start. Cenegenics provides a 100% personalized, physician-developed program with the ultimate objective of minimizing disease risk. It is based on proven principles and gives you a detailed roadmap for addressing age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Thus, no matter where you currently stand in relation to diabetes risk, Cenegenics can help you lead your healthiest possible life.
Nearly 10% of the population suffers from diabetes, a growing epidemic in the United States. Type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed later in life and is most common for those who are obese or overweight.
Cenegenics custom-tailored programs help combat diabetes and are especially useful in reversing prediabetes. Cenegenics clinicians establish an all-encompassing exercise and nutrition plan to facilitate weight loss, but more importantly to improve insulin sensitivity. Cenegenics physicians help patients make important lifestyle changes to help reduce their risk of progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
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We hope the information above assisted you in your research process.
This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:
The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation
The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy
The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT
Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Education Foundation.
Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS
Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.