Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Select An Article

Can You Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Font Size

You can take steps to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Focus on the things you can change, like your diet and how active you are, and not on the things that you can't change, like your age or family medical history.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including screening tests for type 2 diabetes, at no cost to you. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

Your doctor can let you know where you stand now. Many people have prediabetes, which means they're on the path toward developing type 2 diabetes. But many of them don’t know they can still turn that around.

First Line of Defense: Weight, Diet, and Exercise

Losing extra pounds, eating better, and becoming more active are some of the most important steps you can take.

There are people who aren't overweight who have type 2 diabetes. But extra weight definitely puts you at risk for the disease.

In one study, being overweight or obese was the single most important thing that predicted who would develop type 2 diabetes. The study results showed that over 16 years, regular exercise -- at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week -- and a low-fat, high-fiber diet helped prevent type 2 diabetes.

Do You Need Medicine?

If you're at high risk for diabetes, your doctor may recommend going on medication to help you prevent getting it.

Several studies show that various types of diabetes drugs, along with a healthy lifestyle, can cut the odds of getting diabetes in a high-risk person.

One clinical trial, the Diabetes Prevention Program done by the National Institutes of Health, showed that people who have a high risk of getting type 2 diabetes could lower that risk by 31% when using the prescription diabetes drug metformin along with lifestyle and diet changes.

That's good. But the NIH study also showed that the risk of diabetes could be lowered even more just by making intensive lifestyle changes (specifically nutrition and exercise counseling).

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on September 28, 2014
Next Article:

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
Woman serving fast food from window
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
are battery operated toothbrushes really better

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture