How to Prevent Diabetes

Prevent Diabetes

As with any other medical condition, knowing how to prevent diabetes is worth much more than a pound of cure. Furthermore, since there is no known cure for diabetes-the sixth leading cause of death in the United States--taking steps to prevent the development of diabetes becomes even more critical. This is especially true if you have certain risk factors that make you a likely candidate for the disease.


1. Maintain a healthy weight. The majority of people diagnosed with diabetes (usually type 2) are overweight. Excessive weight and body fat, especially around the middle, increases your risk of developing diabetes.

2. Know your family history. Your chances of developing diabetes later in life increases if you have one or more family members with the disease. In addition, Native Americans, African Americans and Hispanics have a high rate of diabetes.

3. Stay physically active. Regular exercise can help to prevent diabetes by controlling weight and improving blood flow. Exercise is especially important if genetics put you at risk for developing the disease.

4. Eat a balanced diet, low in fat and sugars. Since diabetes involves an impairment in the body's ability to either produce or utilize insulin to convert sugars into energy, it's important to restrict the amount of glucose and starches consumed.

5. Get checked. Everyone over the age of 45 should schedule a blood glucose measurement test with their doctor every 3 years. However, if there are risk factors present, such as family history or obesity, regular testing should begin at an earlier age.

6. Monitor your blood pressure regularly and take steps to reduce it, if applicable. Approximately 73 percent of adults with diabetes also suffer from high blood pressure.

7. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that bioflavonoids, the pigments that lend fruits and plants their color, may stimulate insulin production and inhibit glycation, the process in which damaged glucose molecules bind with proteins to create advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. While most AGEs are harmless, others disturb molecular functioning and contribute to organ and nerve damage. To better understand how this occurs, remember that glycation is what causes food in the oven to brown.