Whether you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or have one or more diabetes risk factors, lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise, are very important. Lifestyle modifications can help you prevent or slow the progression of diabetes and reduce the complications if you already have it.
Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) clinical trial results showed that lifestyle modifications in persons with pre-diabetes reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes development by 58%.
In this section, we will focus on how to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Your physician may develop a specific program and goals to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which may include:
As part of the weight loss program, your physician or therapist will reduce your calorie and total fat intake as well as recommend portion control. For every 1,000 calories you consume, try to have at least 14 grams of fiber because fiber helps control blood glucose levels. This will help you maintain a healthy weight.
As part of lifestyle modifications, it is important that you make exercise part of your daily routine. It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. A weekly exercise target of 150 minutes should be achieved.
Weight Loss and Long-term Weight Management
To get clinical benefit in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it is required that you reduce your weight by at least 5 to 7 percent from your initial weight (10 to 14 pounds (4.5 to 6.3 kg) for a 200-pound (90.6 kg) person).
However, in addition to initial weight loss, it is important that you follow a regimented lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
It is important for you to understand the disease and connect with the people living with it. Consult your healthcare provider to modify your lifestyle to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Plan regular check-ups with your physician to assess the progress of your goals for blood glucose, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. This can help you keep on track and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Referral to a dietitian, diabetes educators, wellness clinics, or other specialists (as required) can assist you in achieving your goals of risk reduction.
Risk Factor Management of Type 2 Diabetes
You should also manage your other risk factors, such as maintaining your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and quitting smoking, taking care of your feet and teeth, etc.
1. Quit Smoking:
- increases your risk of diabetes complications i.e. heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, kidney damage, and high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Quit smoking and any other type of tobacco intake
2. Brush your teeth
- twice a day; floss your teeth once a day as diabetes increases the risk of gum infections
3. Check your feet
- daily for blisters, sores, redness, or swelling
4. Breathing exercises:
- Stress prevents insulin from working properly and is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Breathing exercises such as yoga, and meditation help you in diminishing your stress levels
5. Limit your alcohol intake:
- Up to one drink daily for women and two drinks daily for men
Last Reviewed on: July 26, 2014
Reviewed By: Dr. Kanchan Anand, MD (Nephrology and Internal Medicine)