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Diabetes in Men

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What can I do to prevent diabetes?

Plenty. Studies show that 90% of cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented -- or significantly delayed -- simply through a healthier diet and plenty of physical activity. The big proof of that came in a study of 3,234 people who were overweight and had elevated blood glucose levels, putting them in the crosshairs of diabetes risk. Those who followed a lifestyle change program of exercise and diet geared to losing excess weight -- in this case, an average of 15 pounds -- lowered their risk of diabetes by 58%. Those in the 60-and-older set cut their risk by 71%. And these were people who already had a high risk of diabetes. Keep your weight in the normal range and stay active, experts say, and you stand an excellent chance of never getting diabetes.

How is diabetes treated?

A diabetes diagnosis isn't the end of the world. In some cases, lifestyle changes can keep the disease entirely under control. Still, many people with diabetes need to take oral medications that lower blood sugar levels. When these aren't enough to do the job, insulin (which is inhaled and/or injected) may be necessary, sometimes in combination with oral drugs. Several new drugs that work in combination with insulin to improve blood sugar management have been approved by the FDA.

While treatment has improved, however, controlling diabetes remains a challenge, which is why experts emphasize prevention.

What else do I need to know about diabetes?

Experts say that a healthy diet designed to prevent type 2 diabetes should emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Studies suggest that alcohol may actually protect against diabetes. Combining data from 15 studies, researchers writing in the journal Diabetes Care found that moderate alcohol consumption reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 30%. Excessive drinking, however, increased the risk. Here, as always, the word is moderation. For men, that would be a glass or two of wine or beer with a meal.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 30, 2014
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