How do I prevent type 2 diabetes?
If you have a close relative with type 2 diabetes (the kind that usually develops in adulthood), you are at risk for developing diabetes yourself.
1. The most important way to avoid developing diabetes is to pay close attention to nutrition and exercise and to maintain a healthy weight. The particular food groups you eat may not be as important as how many calories you consume. Once obesity develops the risk of type 2 diabetes goes way up.
2. Exercise not only helps prevent obesity but the muscle you develop through exercise helps your body to metabolism blood sugar. This lowers your diabetes risk.
3. Recent studies have shown that some medications used at the first sign of high blood sugar can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Among these medications are acarbose (Precose) which blocks absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine, rosiglitazone (Avandia) which makes the body more sensitive to insulin, and orlistat (Xenical or Ali) which blocks absorption of fat from the intestine. These drugs are not yet approved by the FDA for the purpose of preventing type 2 diabetes. For each individaul with prediabetes only a health care professional can determine if such medication is appropriate.
Gary Pepper, M.D.
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