Diabetes Risk Factors
- over age 45
- family history of diabetes
- no regular exercise
- low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides
- high blood pressure
- certain racial and ethnic groups (Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives)
- having had gestational diabetes, or a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
The good news is that the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Study conclusively showed that people at risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent the development of the disease by making changes in their diet and increasing their level of physical activity. While the DPP also showed that some medications may delay the development of diabetes, eating less and moving more worked better. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10% reduction in body weight, produced about a 60% reduction in diabetes.
How diabetes is treated depends on the type and severity of the disease. The cornerstones of diabetes management are meal planning and exercise. However, one or more oral or injectable medications are often needed. Among adults with diabetes, 16% take insulin only, 12% take both insulin and oral medication, 57% take oral medication only, and 15% do not take either insulin or oral medications.
Diabetes can affect many parts of the body leading to serious long-term complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney damage, and lower-limb amputations. But these complications are not an inevitable result of the disease, they can be prevented. Working together, people with diabetes and their health care providers can reduce the occurrence of these and other diabetes complications by controlling the levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids, and by implementing other preventive care practices in a timely manner.