Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is when the body does not make or use insulin properly, which causes blood sugar to rise to unhealthy levels.
With a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes comes a significantly increased risk of many other illnesses or comorbidities such as kidney disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, eye damage, hearing impairment, neuropathy, and more.
While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, it has been found that this illness is largely preventable.
In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health reports that 9 in 10 cases in the United States can be avoided by making healthy diet and lifestyle changes.
Before someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they often develop prediabetes, which is when insulin is elevated above normal levels but not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is important because it’s estimated that 70 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime with 25 percent of people with prediabetes developing full-blown diabetes within three to five years.
Perhaps the most widely studied, health-promoting diet in the world is the Mediterranean diet.
It has also been shown to be effective at reducing the risk of diabetes.
A 2008 cohort study found there was an 83 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among those who closely followed the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is also anti-inflammatory and helps reduce the risk of heart disease, which is also a risk factor for developing diabetes.
Many studies, including those featuring high-risk individuals, show that regular physical activity is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Exercise helps reduce risk directly by increasing insulin sensitivity and indirectly by encouraging weight loss and normal body weight.
The American Diabetes Association states that increasing physical activity can significantly reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes, especially among high-risk individuals.
There are many ways to prevent type 2 diabetes in ways that aren’t presented here.
In addition to paying attention to diet and lifestyle and possibly taking dietary supplements, patients should talk to their doctor about their risk and concerns regarding type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line is simple: get an annual physical, get some advice from a healthcare professional, and get support from family and friends.
When you are proactive, prevention is possible!