While there are no known ways to prevent type 1 diabetes, with type 2 there are steps you can take to prevent from developing the disease. If diabetes runs in your family, or if you are overweight, it’s especially important to focus on diabetes prevention.
Focusing on good health now can help you avoid the many complications that can come later on, such as nerve, kidney, heart, and eye damage. These key tips from the American Diabetes Association will decrease your risk of developing type 2.
- Be more active. This might seem obvious, but getting more physical activity can make a huge difference in how you feel and in your overall health. Getting regular exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels, and improve your sensitivity to insulin – the cause of type 2 diabetes being insulin insensitivity.
- Get plenty of fiber in your diet. Incorporating a lot of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts, into your diet will improve blood sugar control, lower your risk of heart disease, and help you to lose weight. Eating foods high in fiber will also make you feel fuller, so you’ll eat less.
- Whole grains are important. When looking at packaging at the store, look for the word “whole” and look for whole grain as one of the first ingredients. Eating whole grains can reduce your risk of diabetes and help keep your blood sugar levels even.
- Lose a little weight. Even losing just 7% of body weight and exercising regularly can reduce your diabetes risk by nearly 60%. Start small and see where you can go with your weight loss.
- Make healthier choices. While fad diets might help in the short-term, in the long run it’s better for your body, and more sustainable, to simply make healthier choices. Focus on including a variety of foods and on portion control.
- Don’t smoke. Studies have shown that smoking can lead to many chronic illnesses, including type 2 diabetes.
- Drink in moderation. Limit alcoholic drinks to 1 drink or less for women and 2 drinks or less for men per day, or none at all.
Talk to your doctor
If you think you might be at risk for diabetes, see your doctor. The American Diabetes Association recommends getting a blood glucose screening if:
- You’re 45 or older and overweight.
- You’re younger than 45, overweight, and have additional risk factors like not being physically active or a family history of diabetes.
Even if diabetes runs in your family or you are obese, you can still greatly reduce your diabetes risk by focusing on these lifestyle habits.