According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes, with 90-95% of them having Type 2 diabetes. Living with unmanaged diabetes can impact your quality of life and bring long-term health consequences. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent diabetes.
The Mayo Clinic recommends these small changes to help prevent diabetes:
You can help lower you blood sugar by staying active and exercising regularly. Be sure to include both cardiovascular and strength training two to three days a week. Find ways to move more during the day, such as by taking a short walk after each meal.
Eat a well-balanced diet
Avoid fad diets and instead eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of protein, healthy fats, whole grains and vegetables. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary beverages.
Maintain a healthy weight
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people who are prediabetic lose at least 7% of their body weight to help prevent diabetes.
Make an effort to quit smoking, and get help if you need it. People who smoke are 30%-40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Those who do smoke have more trouble managing their blood sugar than those who do not smoke.
Another way to help prevent diabetes is to make sure you are getting screened for diabetes if you are at risk. The earlier you get screened, the easier it can be to prevent – or even reverse – diabetes. As a Blue Cross of Idaho member, you have access to important preventive screenings at little to no cost to you.
Here are a few diabetes screenings that can help you control or prevent diabetes:
Work towards a HgbA1c under 6%. Talk about this with your doctor or registered dietitian.
Diabetic retinal eye exam
If you have diabetes, annual eye exams can help detect and treat diabetic retinopathy, which could prevent irreversible vision loss.
Blood pressure screening
A level below 140/90 mm Hg is the goal for most people with diabetes.
Know your numbers and ask your healthcare team to discuss them with you. Good total cholesterol levels are below 200. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels should be below 100.
Diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) screening
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, make sure that you are monitoring your kidneys with this important screening so you can prevent kidney disease.
You can take this one-minute test from the CDC to see what your risk may be. If you end up with a high risk score, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your risk and screening options.
Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing diabetes. If your doctor finds you are at a high risk, get screened so you can start to prevent or manage diabetes. Also, ask your doctor for ways that you can help lower your risk.
Don’t have a doctor? Use our Find Care tool to help you find one.
Posted: April 1, 2022
Updated: March 23, 2023