Is type 2 Diabetes preventable?

Dr. Hecham Harb from Bahrain Specialist Hospital tells us more..

When it comes to type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — prevention is a big deal. It’s especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if you’re at an increased risk of diabetes, for example, if you’re overweight or have a family history of the disease.

Unfortunately, diabetes is often diagnosed relatively late in the course of the disease at a point when many patients have already developed complications. In addi­tion, management efforts are labor intensive and challenging for both patients and physicians.

Information from several clinical trials strongly supports the idea that type 2 diabetes is preventable. Therefore, you have to consider the following tips to prevent diabetes:

  • Physical activity: There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Therefore, exercising can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar & boost your sensitivity to insulin, which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range .Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but the greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both, for about 30 minutes daily.
  • Plenty of fiber: it may help you to reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lower your risk of heart disease & promote weight loss by helping you feel full. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  • Skip the sugary drinks: Like refined grains, sugary beverages have a high glycemic load, and drinking more of this sugary stuff is associated with increased risk of diabetes.
  • Loss of extra weight: If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health. And you may be surprised by how much. In one study, overweight adults reduced their diabetes risk by 16 percent for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight lost. Also, those who lost a modest amount of weight — at least 5 to 10 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly, reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent over three years.

Furthermore, if you’re older than age 45 and your weight is normal, ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening: if you’re 45 or older and overweight ,if you’re also younger than 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes. Share your concerns about diabetes prevention with your health care provider. He or she will applaud your efforts to keep diabetes at bay, and perhaps offer additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors.

Ultimately, the key to prevent type 2 diabetes can be boiled down to five words: stay active and stay lean.

Dr. Hecham Harb
Endocrinology Metabolism & Internal Medicine Consultant
Bahrain Specialist Hospital