Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



You can help to prevent type 2 diabetes by:

  • Maintaining your ideal body weight. This is especially true if you have a family history of diabetes.

  • Exercising regularly—like a brisk walk of 1-2 miles in 30 minutes—at least five times a week, even if that does not result in you achieving an ideal weight. That's because regular exercise reduces insulin resistance.

  • Eating a healthy diet.

  • Taking medication. The medication metformin (Glucophage) offers some additional protection for people with pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is defined as blood glucose levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL.

If you already have type 2 diabetes, you can still delay or prevent complications:

  • Keep tight control of your blood sugar. This reduces the risk of most complications.

  • Lower your risk of heart-related complications by:

    • Taking a daily aspirin.

    • Aggressively managing other risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as:

      • High blood pressure

      • High cholesterol and triglycerides

      • Cigarette smoking

      • Obesity

  • Visit an eye doctor and a foot specialist every year to reduce eye and foot complications.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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