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How Can You Prevent Diabetes?

Experts say diabetes is preventable—learn what you can do to keep yourself healthy.

 Two runners standing by a rock outside stretching

More than 23 million Americans currently have diabetes, and it’s estimated that almost 6 million people are undiagnosed. People with diabetes typically suffer from insulin resistance or reduced insulin production—both of these issues result in high blood sugar. Why is high blood sugar an issue? Diabetes that isn’t controlled could lead to kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, limb amputation, and blindness.

Related: What Is Prediabetes?

Who’s at Risk for Diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association recommends testing for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes in adults who are overweight or obese and have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Physically inactive
  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • High cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • High blood pressure
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Family background of African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander
  • Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or a diagnosis of gestational diabetes during pregnancy

How Can You Prevent Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, you can lower your risk of diabetes by eating a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, and quitting smoking.

This study done by the National Institutes of Health proved that millions of people at risk of diabetes can delay and even prevent the onset by losing a small amount of weight (5 to 7 percent of total body weight). Maintaining a healthy weight not only decreases your chances of diabetes, it helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

RelatedWhat's the Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Making Healthy Choices

Small changes can have a dramatic effect on your health. If you aren’t physically active, consider starting out by walking for ten minutes at a time, twice a day. Then you can gradually increase the duration each time you walk—you might even find that you enjoy the exercise!

Focus on healthy things you can add to your diet instead of focusing on the things to avoid. Make it a goal to drink more water, add a veggie to each meal, or enjoy a piece of fruit as a snack. Your body will thank you in the long run.

What’s your favorite way to be active? Tell us in the comments.

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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Sandy Patton

Sandy is a Marketing Communications Specialist and has been with SelectHealth for 15 years. Her prior roles include health education and wellness coaching.