Habits are learned from the people around us.
So if your parents are athletes, chances are you’ll naturally develop a physically active lifestyle.
On the flip side, if you grow up in a house with creative parents who love art but hate to cook, you may not be the best at knowing how to manage your diet properly as you get older.
It can be easy to look at the traits we don’t like that we share with our direct family members and blame it on “genetics.”
While many genes within the body ARE impacted by your parents and immediate family, it isn’t quite that simple.
Blood sugar dysfunction is no different. If you worry because your immediate family members have struggled with diabetes or blood sugar imbalance diagnosis, all is not lost for you!
Epigenetics is an emerging medical field of study that is helping us to better understand how our lifestyle choices and environment can impact our health outcomes. In the case of diabetes, research has shown that epigenetic changes can affect the expression of genes related to insulin resistance, glucose metabolism, and inflammation.
For example, a study published in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care found that individuals who were exposed to high levels of air pollution had epigenetic changes that were associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes.
However, the good news is that epigenetic changes are not set in stone. Research has shown that lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity, can help to reverse some of these epigenetic changes and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
The field of epigenetics is helping us to better understand the complex interplay between our genes, lifestyle choices, and environment, and how these factors can impact our health outcomes. By adopting healthy lifestyle choices, we can help to reverse some of the epigenetic changes associated with diabetes and reduce our risk of developing this chronic condition.
What can you do to protect your genes?
Changing your lifestyle is not easy (that’s the bad news).
But the GOOD news is, making a difficult change is a LOT better than succumbing to an unhealthy fate.
Your body is a healing machine that WANTS to operate at 100%. All you have to do is give it the tools to thrive.
If you’re worried about diabetes affecting your health, here are some easy ways you can turn things around starting TODAY:
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Avoid processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages that can cause blood sugar spikes and increase your risk of diabetes.
- Engage in regular physical activity most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. If you're new to exercise, start slowly and gradually build up to more intense activities.
- Get enough sleep each night. Lack of sleep can affect your hormone levels and increase your risk of diabetes. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Manage stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Chronic stress can affect your blood sugar levels and increase your risk of diabetes.
- Quit smoking and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Both smoking and drinking can increase your risk of diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly if you're at risk of developing diabetes. This can help you detect any changes early and make necessary lifestyle changes to prevent or manage diabetes.
- Work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who can provide personalized recommendations and guidance. They can help you create a customized plan that takes into account your individual needs, lifestyle, and health goals.
Remember - developing diabetes is not solely a matter of genetics.
While family history can play a role in your risk, lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, and stress management are also important. By making positive lifestyle changes, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing type II diabetes, regardless of your family's medical history. It's never too late to start making changes that can improve your health and quality of life. By working with a qualified healthcare practitioner and implementing healthy habits, you can take control of your health and prevent or reverse diabetes.
Don't let a family history of diabetes discourage you - you have the power to make positive changes and protect your health.