If one or both of your parents had type 2 diabetes, that means that you have a greater chance of developing it yourself. Genetics plays a big part in who develops diabetes, but here’s the good news– with a few small lifestyle changes, you can really lower your diabetes risk. (To find out what your risk is for developing diabetes, click here to take this risk test from the ADA.)
So, what are those small changes that you need to make to prevent diabetes? There are three main ones:
#1 Try to get a little more activity. Getting 30 minutes of exercise five days a week will go a LONG towards helping you be healthier AND prevent diabetes. For more about all the different ways that exercise can improve your mental and physical health (no matter what your genetics are like), read this.
#2 Losing weight, even a little bit, is probably the most effective way to prevent type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that losing 7-10%of your body weight (for a 180 lb. woman, this would mean losing between 13 and 18 pounds) cuts your risk of developing diabetes in half. For some simple suggestions on how to do that, click here.
#3 In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin which has also been shown to prevent type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. You may want to talk to your doctor about whether metformin (which is a generic drug that is free at Publix or sold for $4 at Walmart and other pharmacies) is right for you.
Preventing diabetes is definitely possible by making the changes above, no matter what your family history is. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may have diabetes, though, you can watch this short video about the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes.