If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. This happens because your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use the insulin it makes effectively (referred to as insulin resistance).
Many people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes because they already have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. This is referred to as prediabetes. Or they have other risk factors, such as being overweight, advanced age or family history.
But just because you have prediabetes or other risk factors doesn't mean you'll automatically get diabetes in the future. There are steps you can take now to help you avoid getting diabetes later – or to help you better manage the disease if you already have it. Take this quiz to see which lifestyle habits may help prevent diabetes.
Losing weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Overweight and obese individuals are at a higher risk for developing diabetes. In fact, this is one of the biggest risk factors for the disease. Losing even 5 - 10% of your current weight may help cut your risk.
Avoiding processed foods may lower your diabetes risk.
There are often added sugars, refined carbs and additives in processed foods. Reducing your intake of processed foods and basing your diet around whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein and healthy fats (such as avocado, salmon or olive oil) may help lower your diabetes risk.
Regular exercise is a great way to lower your risk of diabetes.
Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and helps keep blood sugar levels in a healthier range. It also helps you maintain a healthier weight, which is one of the biggest factors in preventing diabetes.
Quitting smoking is a smart way to help prevent diabetes.
Smokers are 30 - 40% more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers because smoking contributes to insulin resistance. Lowering your risk of diabetes is just one of many benefits your body will enjoy if you quit smoking.
Drinking more water may help combat diabetes.
When it comes to beverages that will not raise blood glucose levels, water is a star. Not only does water contain zero sugar, but it also contains no calories so it may help you lose weight. Every time you replace a sugary beverage with water, you're doing your body good.
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Date Last Reviewed: February 14, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor