By Kalynne M. Defever

Communications Coordinator of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Did you know that as you get older, you have a greater chance of getting Type 2 diabetes? It’s true.

You have a greater chance of getting diabetes if you are age 45 or older, are overweight, obese or have a family history of diabetes. But you can take steps to prevent or delay getting Type 2 diabetes. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan offers tips on taking your first steps toward preventing diabetes today.

In Michigan, an estimated 10 percent of adults have diagnosed diabetes — about 758,300 people. An additional 250,200 Michigan adults are thought to have diabetes, but are currently undiagnosed. When diabetes is not managed properly, it can lead to kidney failure as well as heart disease, blindness, lower-extremity amputations and other health complications. However, many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or controlled through a healthy lifestyle. If you’re at risk for Type 2 diabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight. For those who have Type 2 diabetes, losing weight can be helpful in controlling your diabetes.

The National Diabetes Education Program recommends these small steps to lower your risk of diabetes:

  • Choosing healthy foods is very important, as well as reducing portion sizes. Your plate should be filled half with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein and one quarter with a whole grain. Eating a small serving of dessert at the end of a healthy meal is okay, but not every day. Sweets and desserts have a lot of fat and sugar.
  • Moving more and sitting less can help you stay at a healthy weight and become more flexible. Fun simple ways to add more activity into your day are get off the couch and turn on music and dance, stretch and move around during commercial breaks, walk around while you talk on the phone or park your car farther away and walk if it is safe. Also remember to warm up and stretch before your exercise.
  • Making a lifestyle change can be easier with the help from your loved ones, so encourage them to get involved. Ways to get them involved is offer fruit instead of cookies to your grandchildren, friends and family, enjoy a walk with them around a park or teach your kids or grandchildren how to plant and take care of a garden. These are great ways to include them in your new lifestyle changes.
  • Make a plan. Plan how you will eat healthy foods and move more. Think about what is important to your health and what changes you are willing and able to make. To get started, choose one goal to work on and decide what steps will help you reach your goal.

Lastly, find out how insurance coverage can help prevent Type 2 diabetes through exams, tests, check-ups and different workshops.

For more tips for managing and preventing diabetes, visit YourDiabetesInfo.org. You can also contact the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan for programs, classes and resources on healthy living and diabetes at nkfm.org or (800) 482-1455.