Type 2 Diabetes: Reducing Your Risk
Regular Exercise and Weight Loss
Insulin is a hormone produced in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) move out of the blood and into body tissue for use as energy. Excess body weight makes your tissue less responsive to insulin. This can lead to high blood glucose levels. By losing weight, your body tissue will be more sensitive to insulin and will be better able to use insulin.
Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes in two ways:
- Exercise alone lowers blood glucose levels by making your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Regular exercise will help you lose weight.
Heart disease is a common complication of diabetes. Regular exercise can help lower the levels of fat and cholesterol in your blood and lower your blood pressure. This will decrease your risk for heart disease.
Choose exercises that you enjoy. Make it part of your daily routine. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthy weight. The goal should be to exercise for at least 150 minutes/week. This should be moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, riding a bicycle, playing tennis, or doing water aerobics. In addition, strength training should be done at least twice a week. Examples of strength training include using free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands.
Before you start any exercise program, talk to your doctor. It is important that you wear a diabetes identification bracelet when you exercise.
Too little sleep can contribute to weight gain. Aim for 7-8 hours of good sleep each night.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers these guidelines for reducing your risk of developing diabetes:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats (eg, whole milk, cream, ice cream, meat).
- Eat a diet low in cholesterol.
If you want to change your eating habits, ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietician. A dietician can help you create an individualized eating plan that includes all of the nutrients your body needs.
Medicines commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes may also be prescribed to prevent the condition in people who are at high risk. Examples of of these medicines include:
- Metformin (Glucophage)
- Pioglitazone (Actos)
- Acarbose (Precose)
Last reviewedSeptember 2013by Kim Carmichael, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.