Diabetes can be prevented

Several recent studies show that most cases of Type II diabetes can be prevented with the diabetic medications, metformin or perhaps Actos (Lancet, September 29, 2006; Diabetes Care, Volume 29, 2006). An earlier study showed that lifestyle changes were even more effective in preventing diabetes than drugs (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, July 2004).

People most likely to develop diabetes have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, and store fat primarily in the belly, rather than the hips. They often have a thick neck, male pattern baldness, high blood levels of triglycerides and low levels of the good HDL cholesterol, and do not exercise. Pre-diabetes is defined as having a fasting blood sugar greater than 100 but less than 125, a one-hour-after-eating blood sugar greater than 160 but less than 200, and an HBA1c greater than 5.7 but less than 6. (HBA1c is a blood test that measures how much sugar is stuck on cells).

If pre-diabetics take medications used to treat diabetes, or change their lifestyles, they markedly reduce their chances of going on to develop diabetes. Both the prevention and treatment of diabetes involves preventing blood sugar levels from rising too high after meals. To do this, a person should avoid the foods that cause the highest rises in blood sugar levels, such as those made from flour, those with added sugar, and sugar water found in fruit juices and many soft drinks. Other recommendations are to lose weight, exercise, and eat fewer calories. If you fit the description of a person at risk for diabetes, check with your doctor and get a blood test called HBA1C. If the value is greater than 5.6, you should start your diabetic prevention regimen immediately.

Checked 8/31/10

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