Nearly 1 in 10 people in the US have diabetes. Many more have a condition called prediabetes.
People with prediabetes usually have no symptoms, yet they’re at risk for eventually developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Research shows that you can greatly reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes by eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of physical activity and losing excess weight.
Who is at risk for developing diabetes?
What are the preventive strategies?
What kind of lifestyle changes can help prevent diabetes?
Anyone with above risk factors and over 45 years of age or if their body mass index is more than 25 kg/m2 than should be screened with fasting blood sugar level or by checking Hb A1c levels.
Eating healthy with less animal fat and more fruits and vegetables will help maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that Mediterranean type of diet may prevent diabetes. Mediterranean diet generally consists of cuts more whole grains, nuts, seeds, high in fruits and vegetables and use of olive oil which is an important source of mono and saturated fat. There is typically low to moderate amount of fish, poultry and dairy products with little red meat. Read more about diabetes diet basics.
Moderate intensity exercise including brisk walking, running, and other aerobic exercises for 30 minutes daily is recommended. No matter what kind of exercise you do, as long as you’re physically active, it will help prevent diabetes in people who is at risk. Read more
In high risk patients, when lifestyle changes fail, medications can be considered. Your health care provider may start you on a medication called Metformin which has been shown in studies to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. But, not everybody is a candidate for medications to prevent diabetes. You need to check with your health care provider whether you need medications or not, based on your risk factors.
American diabetes Association (ADA) recommends losing 5-10% of body weight in people with impaired glucose tolerance or fasting glucose testing or if they have HbA1c levels of 5.7 to 6.4%. Weight reduction either by diet and exercise or by weight loss surgery, has shown in many studies to prevent or delay diabetes. Studies have also shown that people who undergo weight loss surgery can even cure the diabetes.