Is Type 2 Diabetes Preventable?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. The good news is that the answer to whether it’s preventable is a resounding YES! In fact, prevention is a big deal! It’s even more so important if you have an increased risk of diabetes. Some of these risks include having a family history of the disease, being overweight, or a diagnosis of prediabetes.

The CDC reports that “prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.” More than 83 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. Of those people with prediabetes, approximately 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

You can have prediabetes for years but experience no symptoms. Because of this, it often goes undetected until serious health problems arise. Concerned about your risks? Complete the Tria Health Diabetes Risk Assessment and discuss your results with your doctor!

Are You at Risk for Diabetes?

In the United States, diabetes affects approximately 30.3 million people (CDC, 2017) and is the 7th leading cause of death. Timely screening can lead to early diagnosis which slows the disease progression and ultimately long-term complications such as heart attacks, neuropathy, and irreversible kidney damage, among others.

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following screening guidelines:

  • ALL adults who fit the BMI criteria and 1 or more risk factors should be screened at any age
  • Adults who meet the BMI criteria without an extra risk factor can wait until 45 years old for screening
  • Testing should be repeated at least every 3 years for those with normal results

Diabetes Risk Factors:

  • BMI greater than or equal to 25 (for Asian Americans the cut-off is greater than or equal to 23)
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Parent(s) or sibling(s) with diabetes
  • High-risk race/ethnicity (African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander)
  • You have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs
  • You had gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure (above 149/90 mmHg) or you take medications to treat high blood pressure
  • HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) less than 35 mg/dL
  • Triglyceride level above 250 mg/d:
  • Diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • You have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes on previous testing
  • You have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance
  • You have a history of cardiovascular disease 

If you have any of the risk factors above, talk to your doctor to see if additional testing is needed. For more information, visit www.diabetes.org

What Can You Do to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

At Tria Health, our pharmacists are Certified Diabetes Educators who evaluate patients at risk for Type 2 diabetes and work with those patients to institute lifestyle modifications and dietary changes that have been proven to prevent the development of diabetes.

Some lifestyle modifications you may consider include:

  • More physical activity. Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
  • Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber reduces your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lowering your risk of heart disease and also promotes weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
  • Eat whole grains. Research is pending, so it’ still unclear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Lose extra weight. Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol.
  • Make healthy food choices A diet which balances protein and carbohydrates, and also plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is best to maintain a healthy blood sugar.

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