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Guide to Diabetes

Can Diabetes Be Prevented? 

Type 1 Diabetes Cannot Be Prevented

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is in the genes and people are born to develop the condition. People who have it in their genes can develop it as a baby, child, teenager, young adult and even in some cases (rarely), a much older person. Research suggests that there are triggers which cause the immune system to begin to destroy the insulin producing cells. These triggers may be caused by an otherwise insignificant virus Emotional and psychological factors have also been blamed for Type 1 Diabetes. So it appears we cannot prevent it although we can genetically screen and detect people who are pre-disposed to it (but we don't do this other than in some limited research studies). 



If you have been diagnosed with Pre- diabetes here are some small changes you can make that can significantly reduce your chances of going onto develop diabetes.  It has been shown that people with pre-diabetes who lose 5-7% of body weight reduce their chances of getting diabetes by 58%. Scroll down for more

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes can be slightly different. Some people may have a strong family history and therefore probably are genetically predisposed to develop Type 2 (this is true for a lot of people from the Indian sub-continent.)

Small Changes for Life

Now is your chance to make some small changes for life to reduce your chances of developing diabetes. Remember to make small changes as it’s more difficult to stick with major changes. Any changes are difficult to make but you can do it! Knowing you have pre-diabetes gives you the chance to make positive steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
Here are some small changes you can make that can significantly reduce your chances of going onto develop diabetes.

Reducing the Risk of developing Diabetes even if you have Pre-diabetes 

Diabetes cannot be prevented but most of the risk factors for diabetes can be changed to reduce risk either through lifestyle changes or through medication, if needed. Thus preventing, or at least delaying the onset of Diabetes, this can be done by:

Doing some regular activity or exercise

This is one of the best ways to help lose and maintain a healthy weight, a key factor in lowering the risk of diabetes. Activity or exercise also helps:

  • The body's cells use insulin effectively, which makes it easier to control blood glucose levels. e.g. brisk walking, swimming, or gardening.
  • Improves mobility
  • Reduces depression and stress
  • Keep your bones muscles and joints healthy
  • Prevent coronary heart disease
  • Prevent developing diabetes, colon cancer and high blood pressure

Staying in Shape

Being overweight or obese increases your risk, try to balance the energy you take from food with the energy you burn with activity maintaining a healthy weight has been proven to decrease the risk.

Eat and drink healthily
Looking at what and how much you eat can be a powerful tool for lowering the risk of diabetes. Aim for a healthy balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables at least 5 portions a day. Watch the amount of fat in your diet - particularly the saturated fat (animal fats). Look for ‘low-fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ products.
Limit alcohol intake 

Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol

Losing weight and exercising can help reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol. In addition, healthy eating, (especially cutting back on salt) will help reduce blood pressure. Increasing fruit and vegetables will help with reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. A low fat diet will help reduce cholesterol. Sometimes people will need tablets to help control blood pressure and cholesterol. A healthy blood pressure should be below 140/80 and a healthy cholesterol level should be below 5.

Stop Smoking

For many people, quitting smoking is the single best thing they can do to improve their health. Stopping smoking will also reduce your chances of getting both diabetes and heart disease.We know it hard but support is available throughout Leicestershire.

Look after Number one When do I need to see my GP?

Know your body, be aware of any changes and contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Make sure you go for regular appointments and ensure you get your blood tests done to check for diabetes. If you get any of the symptoms of diabetes it is best to get your doctor to check you over. Remember, by diagnosing diabetes earlier, it means we can prevent complications. Making the necessary small changes to your lifestyle can help prevent the onset of diabetes. 



So the message is... eat a healthy diet, take regular exercise maintain a healthy weight for your height, especially if you have a strong family history of diabetes.