Can You Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Your doctor’s just told you that you have prediabetes. That means there's a good chance you could get type 2 diabetes, but you don't have to. There are plenty of things you can do to try to prevent it.

Focus on the things you can change, like your diet and how active you are. Don’t dwell on the things you can't do anything about, like your age or your family's medical history.

Your doctor can let you know where you stand and what you can do to turn things 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 added pounds do put you at risk.

In one study, being overweight or obese was the single most important thing that predicted who would get 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 it.

Do You Need Medicine?

If you're at high risk for the disease, your doctor may recommend taking medication to hold it off. Several studies show that various types of diabetes drugs, along with a healthy lifestyle, can cut the odds that you'll get it

One study showed that people most likely to get it could lower their odds by 31%. They took the prescription diabetes drug metformin and made lifestyle and diet changes.

That's good. But the study also showed that drastic lifestyle changes are the best way to avoid diabetes. You'll need to work with a dietitian to come up with a meal plan and talk to a trainer about how to get more exercise.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on January 21, 2017

Sources

SOURCES: 
 

National Diabetes Education Program: "Diabetes Prevention."
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: "Diabetes Prevention Program."
Fox, C. Circulation, June 27, 2006.
Fenton, J. Annals of Family Medicine, January/February 2006.

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