Deceptive Risks

73 million Americans suffer from or are on the brink of developing diabetes. While known risk factors like obesity, age, and genetics raise your risk, new studies suggest diabetes has a sneaky side.

For years a low body mass index (BMI) indicated you’d dodged obesity-related bullets. But Mayo Clinic researchers found that body fat more accurately predicts a predisposition for diabetes. Despite normal BMI, women with body fat above 30% and men with body fat higher than 20% were more prone to metabolic syndrome — a precursor to diabetes — than those with lower compositions. The mirror may not reflect the truth; obtain a body fat analysis from your health club or doctor. If the reading is high for your age and gender, increase your cardio and strength training to swap fat for lean muscle.

Type 2 diabetes monopolizes most cases of the disease, but type 1 — dubbed juvenile diabetes because it usually develops in childhood — is on the rise… and it doesn’t discriminate against adults. While the cause isn’t clear, some risk factors include autoimmune disorders, exposure to certain viruses, and possibly geography (the closer to the poles you live, the higher your risk). While there’s no preventive measure, research suggests vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids may have positive effects.

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