How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: 6 Useful Steps

Caroline Leopold wrote . . . . . .

Here are some suggestions to prevent type 2 diabetes and also maintain overall health:

1. Regular blood glucose screening

Blood tests can detect prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Those who are overweight, older, or who have other risk factors should have regular diabetes screenings.

The American Diabetes Association recommend that testing begins at 45 years of age and recurs every 3 years. If other risk factors exist, testing may be started sooner and more frequently.

There are three tests that can diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test checks for the average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. An A1C of at least 5.7 percent is associated with a greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes. An A1C level over 6.5 percent is diagnostic for diabetes.
  • Fasting blood sugar test. A blood test is done to measure blood sugar after an overnight fast. A blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is diagnostic for prediabetes. A blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher suggests diabetes.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test. This test is useful for diagnosing diabetes during pregnancy. Blood is taken to measure blood sugar after an 8-hour fast. Then, another blood test to measure blood sugar is taken either 1 or 2 hours after drinking a sugar solution. The doctor will determine the next steps depending on these results.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

People can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes by more than 50 percent by losing 7 percent of their body weight and exercising regularly. Weight loss can be achieved through healthier food choices and regular physical activity.

3. Follow a healthy and balanced diet

Healthy eating begins with nutritious foods that contain protein, carbohydrates, and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals. Sweets, processed, and salty drinks and foods are best avoided, or eaten only in moderation.

It is better to replace refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white bread, and sweetened drinks such as sodas, with complex carbohydrates. These include whole grains, legumes, whole fruits, and vegetables.

People should be mindful about the carbohydrates, protein, and fat eaten at each meal. Phone and web apps can help with meal planning.

4. Get enough fiberbread, nuts, grains, fruit

Eating high-fiber foods may not only help to reduce the chances of type 2 diabetes, it can help maintain overall health as well.

Fiber helps people to feel fuller and more satisfied after meals. It helps to control blood sugar by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.

Other important health benefits of fiber include lowering cholesterol and keeping bowel movements regular.

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes such as beans are all good sources of fiber. While these foods are nutritious, it is important to eat them as part of a balanced meal.

5. Get active

Regular physical activity or exercise is important in reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Experts recommend that everyone, including those at risk for diabetes, should engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days per week.

Examples of moderate exercise include a brisk walk, yard work, biking, hiking, and swimming. People with health problems should speak with a health provider about their best fitness options.

6. Reduce stress

Stress is believed to affect blood sugar in two ways. First, people under stress might neglect their healthy habits of eating balanced meals and exercising. There is also evidence that stress can raise blood sugar levels.

Reducing stress and taking care of one’s emotional health can help to prevent diabetes. Ways of relaxing include deep breathing, meditation, and taking time to relax.

Source: Medicine News Today