Diabetes prevention can be categorized into two groups:
- Primary prevention
- Secondary prevention
Identifies and protects individuals at risk from developing diabetes. It therefore has an impact by reducing both the need for diabetes care and the need to treat diabetes–related complications.
While there is yet no conclusive evidence to suggest that type 1 diabetes can be prevented, primary prevention of type 2 diabetes is potentially possible.
Lifestyle changes aimed at weight control and increased physical activity are important objectives in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. The benefits of reducing body weight and increasing physical activity are not confined to type 2 diabetes, they also play a role in reducing heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.
Involves the early detection and prevention of complications, therefore reducing the need for treatment.
Action taken early in the course of diabetes is more beneficial in terms of quality of life and is more cost–effective, especially if this action can prevent hospitalization.
There is now conclusive evidence that good control of blood glucose levels can substantially reduce the risk of developing complications and slow their progression in all types of diabetes. The management of high blood pressure and raised blood lipids (fats) is equally important.
Diet and Weight Loss
For most people with diabetes, diet control is the key to managing this complicated disease. Patients should meet with a professional dietitian to plan an individualized diet that takes into consideration all health needs.
General rules for healthy eating apply to everyone: limit fats (particularly saturated fats and trans–fatty acids), protein, and cholesterol, and consume plenty of fiber and fresh vegetables. All people with diabetes should aim for healthy lipid and control of blood pressure. For obese patients who cannot control weight using dietary measures alone, weight–loss drugs may be tried.