How can most people lower their risk of developing prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes?
For many people, there are ways to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, a person can often lower his or her risk by about 58 percent by losing 7 percent of their body weight (for example, if a person weighs 200 pounds [90.7 kilograms], losing about 15 pounds [6.8 kilograms]) and by exercising moderately (for example, brisk walking) for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. In the same example as above, if a person weighs 200 pounds, even losing 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) will make a big difference and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (It should be noted that for some people such measures may only slow the disease down. For example, those who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes or have other medical problems may still have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.)
What are some foods to avoid in order to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
Not all foods lead to diabetes, but some are more likely than others to increase the risk of diabetes. For example, foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, and fructose, along with highly processed foods, can contribute to a person’s chances of getting type 2 diabetes. This is because many of those foods cause excess weight gain—especially if the person does not get much exercise—and additional weight sometimes increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (For more about foods and type 2 diabetes, see the chapters “Diabetes and Nutrition” and “Diabetes and Eating.”)
If a person is prediabetic, will he or she always become diabetic?
According to Harvard Medical School, having prediabetes is no guarantee that a person will develop full-blown diabetes. What a prediabetes diagnosis means is that the person has a risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There are some often-debated averages concerning whether a person with prediabetes will develop full-blown type 2 diabetes. Some research indicates that half of the people with prediabetes will develop type 2. Other research suggests that about a quarter of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 and around half will stay in the prediabetic stage. The rest (the last quarter) will not develop type 2 diabetes and will revert to having normal blood glucose levels, mostly through lifestyle changes. Either way, most experts agree that being diagnosed with prediabetes should be a wake-up call for people to pay attention to their lifestyle in order to avoid developing type 2 diabetes.