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Can You Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

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 can still turn that around. And many of them don't know it. 

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 with type 2 diabetes prevention.

Medication's Role in Diabetes Prevention

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 for developing type 2 diabetes (borderline diabetes or prediabetes) could reduce 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 August 15, 2012
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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

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.

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