Of the two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2- it is possible to prevent developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, although there are ongoing studies to discover ways to prevent it in those people who are more likely to develop it.
Type 1 diabetes can be hereditary; however, many people who have the disease actually have no family history of it. If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to make sure you are following your treatment plan and maintaining regular medical appointments and checkups. While there’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, you can help prevent complications from the disease by keeping your blood sugar levels in the target range. Damage from complications can be stopped and even reversed entirely if they are treated early.
Type 2 diabetes prevention, on the other hand, is possible. People with type 2 diabetes have problems making and/or using insulin. When insulin is not being used by the body as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells, which leads to the cells not functioning properly. High glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves in the eyes, kidneys and heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Tips for Diabetes Prevention
While anyone can get type 2 diabetes, the people who are most at risk are those who are over age 45, are overweight or obese, rarely exercise, and have high blood pressure. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include things like increased hunger and thirst, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and numbness in hands and feet, just to name a few. If you are over the age of 45, it’s recommended to get tested annually for type 2 diabetes.
If you follow these diabetes prevention tips recommended by the American Diabetes Association, these simple lifestyle changes can help ensure that you’ll avoid serious complications as you age. These tips include:
- Maintain a healthy diet with lots of fiber and whole grains. Foods high in fiber include fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. High fiber foods can help improve your blood sugar levels, and they can promote weight loss since you’ll feel fuller faster. Likewise, whole grains also help reduce your blood sugar levels. Foods like breads, pastas and cereals come from whole grains- just make sure the words “whole grain” are on the package.
- Start exercising regularly. Find a physical activity you enjoy participating in. Studies show that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help prevent diabetes. Spend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week involved in some sort of physical activity that gets your heart rate up. You can even break the 30 minutes into more manageable, 10 minute intervals as you’re getting started.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra pounds puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, certain studies have shown that being overweight was the single most important thing in developing type 2 diabetes. Through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain a healthy weight and help reduce your risk.
Along with maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, if you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes there are certain medications your doctor may prescribe. Always discuss any concerns you may have at your medical appointments.