Can You Prevent Diabetes?

It’s a disturbing fact that almost seven percent of people have type 2 diabetes – and some don’t even know it. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can really sneak up on a person since the symptoms can be so subtle in the early stages. There’s also a strong hereditary component to this chronic disease – meaning diabetes frequently runs in families. Fortunately, genetics isn’t always destiny. Is it possible to prevent type 2 diabetes if you’re at high risk for the disease?

Is It Possible to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

A recent study published in the journal Lancet showed that people who have abnormal glucose tolerance – meaning they’re pre-diabetic – may be able to prevent type 2 diabetes - or at least delay its onset. In this study, over 3,000 pre-diabetic, overweight adults received either lifestyle counseling sessions - showing them how to reduce their risk of diabetes through lifestyle changes - or the glucose lowering drug metformin twice a day.

After following the both groups for ten years, they found that the group who used lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes lowered their risk of the disease by more than a third over a ten year period. In fact, they fared better than the group who took the blood sugar lowering drug metformin who only reduced their risk by eighteen percent.

The good news is that even overweight people with a family history of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance can reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by making the appropriate lifestyle changes. This study showed the onset of the disease can be delayed by at least ten years and maybe longer – without taking medications.

What Can You Do to Avoid Types 2 Diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association suggests that anyone worried about their risk of diabetes, exercise at least thirty minutes a day and try to reduce weight by five to ten percent. Lowering body fat and getting regular exercise allows the body to process glucose more efficiently which helps to lower blood sugar levels.

In some cases, medications are used to prevent type 2 diabetes in people who are obese and have borderline high blood sugar levels. Although drugs can be effective for delaying the onset of diabetes, they should never replace healthy lifestyle habits such as a lower carbohydrate diet and moderate exercise on most days of the week. These are proven, time tested methods for lowering blood sugar levels and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Call a HealthwoRx™ physician at 954.967.6550 to schedule a consultation today.