A new study reveals that when compared to heterosexual women, lesbian and bisexual women are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, they’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age than heterosexual women.

Why is This?

There are three major reasons why lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes:

  • They’re more likely to have a higher body mass index.
  • They’re more likely to suffer from discrimination-related stress.
  • They’re less likely to go to the doctor, out of fear of being discriminated against.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

A family history of type 2 diabetes can put you at an increased risk for the disease. However, lifestyle factors also play a major role in someone’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. You can’t change your genetics, but you can change your health with these helpful tips:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Because fat, particularly fat around a person’s abdomen, can increase your resistance to insulin, obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise does several things to your body — it can help maintain your weight, reduce blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce bad cholesterol levels.
  • Eat well. Stay away from processed foods, foods high in saturated fats, and salt. Instead, opt for a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
  • Don’t drink alcohol too often. A beer here and there is okay, but too much alcohol can cause weight gain and increase your blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking (or never start). Cigarettes also raise your blood pressure. This may be one of the reasons why cigarette smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop diabetes.
  • Practice stress relieving techniques. Because lesbians are more likely to be discriminated against socially and in terms of housing and employment, it’s important for women to practice good mental health habits.