Preventing Type Two Diabetes

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By Della Hughes-Carter

Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most challenging chronic illnesses to manage, but research demonstrates that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay its onset. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends screening every three years if you have one risk factor and every year if you have two or more risk factors. If you have any of the following risk factors, speak with your health care provider to determine if you should be screened for diabetes.

Diabetes Risk Factors:

  • I am 45 years or older.
  • I am overweight (based upon body mass index for my ethnicity).
  • I am physically active less than three times a week.
  • I have been told my blood sugar, cholesterol or triglycerides
    are elevated.
  • I have high blood pressure or taking blood pressure medication.
  • I have cardiovascular disease.
  • I have polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • My skin is darker around my neck and armpits (known as
    acanthosis nigricans).
  • I have a brother, sister or parent who has diabetes.
  • My family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander.
  • If you had diabetes while you were pregnant (gestational diabetes) you and your child have a lifelong risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes Prevention

Research confirms that sitting more than 90 minutes at a time is unhealthy. Being active has numerous benefits to your health, including the prevention of type 2 Diabetes. Evidence suggests that resistance training two times per week (with no contraindications) and 150 minutes a week (minimum of three days) is recommended.

Nutrition that is balanced with the appropriate amount of calories is essential. If you are overweight, losing 5 to 7 percent of your weight prevents the development of Diabetes. For example, a person weighing 200 pounds would need to lose 10 to 14 pounds. The ADA encourages limiting or avoiding beverages from any caloric sweetener including sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup.

Most importantly, work with a healthcare provider as your partner in prevention. Small lifestyle changes can have a major impact on the quality of your life. Every person is unique; therefore healthcare goals should begin with your priorities, supported by your healthcare provider. Living healthy means feeling well and improving your chances of not developing diabetes.

Dr. Della Hughes-Carter is a board certified nurse practitioner with a primary care practice, and a faculty member of the College of Nursing at Michigan State University. You can contact Della by email at della.hughes@hc.msu.edu.


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