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Can Diabetes be Prevented?

The simple answer is: yes. You can prevent type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. Over 34 million Americans have diabetes, and 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed every year.

Prediabetes is a serious and common condition affecting 88 million people in the US. It occurs when your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. When you have prediabetes, you can reduce the risk of your condition turning into full-blown diabetes, a chronic disease.

The family medicine specialists at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, have experience helping people with diabetes manage their condition and people with prediabetes or other health risks make healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of developing diabetes.  Here, they share effective steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this disease and associated health issues.

Lose weight

Being overweight puts you at risk of developing diabetes and increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis. Losing just 5% to 7% of your body weight will lower your risk of developing diabetes. That means if you’re a man who weighs 200 pounds, you’d need to lose from 10 to 14 pounds to improve your health. You don’t have to lose this weight overnight or within a week. Small changes can make a big difference. 

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly can not only help you get to or maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps your cells become more sensitive to insulin, so they work more effectively and lower your blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that helps break down glucose and turns it into energy. When it doesn’t work effectively, or you don’t have an adequate amount, glucose builds up in your blood and can lead to various health issues.

If you don’t exercise currently, start slowly and build from there. Look for ways to fit in exercise throughout your day, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Park your car a few blocks away from your destination so you can walk more. The US Department of Health & Human Services recommends getting at least 2 ½ hours of moderate to vigorous exercise every week. If you walk just 30 minutes 5 days a week, you’ll get the exercise you need. If you add resistance training a couple of days a week to your workout routine, you’ll get even more health benefits.

Quit smoking

If you smoke or use tobacco products, quit. Smoking increases your risk of not only diabetes but also certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, tooth loss, and even depression and anxiety. Smokers are 30 to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Fortunately, after you quit, you will start noticing health benefits right away. 

We know that quitting is not easy. Look for a smoking-cessation program for help and support. If you can do it with a friend, even better. 

Increase your fiber intake

Eating fiber-rich foods such as beans, broccoli, whole grains, and berries can help you control your glucose levels and make you feel full, so you eat less. Eating fiber also comes with other health benefits such as helping you lose weight, lowers your cholesterol levels, and decreases constipation.

Do you want to learn how to reduce your risk of developing diabetes? Call Wasatch Peak Family Practice to make an appointment with one of our caring and experienced family physicians. You can also request an appointment online.

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