Update HSHS to remain in-network for Illinois Aetna click here to read more

Preventing Type 2 diabetes: A guide to a healthier lifestyle

November 21, 2023 


Hospital News

November is National Diabetes Month when we focus on the need to slow the growing epidemic of diabetes and prediabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

There are two types of diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not make enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high and is a chronic metabolic disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. While genetics and certain risk factors play a role in its development, many cases of Type 2 diabetes are preventable through lifestyle modifications. By making informed choices and adopting healthier habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing this condition. In this article, we will explore some effective strategies for preventing Type 2 diabetes. 
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight. One of the most crucial factors in preventing Type 2 diabetes is maintaining a healthy weight. Excess body fat, especially around the abdomen,increases insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes. Aim for a balanced diet and regular physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Even modest weight loss can have a significant impact on  reducing diabetes risk.
  2. Eat a Balanced Diet. A well-balanced diet is essential for preventing Type 2 diabetes. Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Limit your intake of sugary beverages, refined carbohydrates, and foods high in saturated and trans fats. Monitoring portion sizes and controlling your calorie intake can also help.
  3. Be Active Regularly. Regular physical activity is a powerful tool in diabetes prevention. Aim for at least 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, combined with musclestrengthening activities at least twice a week. Exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. Manage Stress. Chronic stress can contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can improve your overall well-being and lower your risk of diabetes.
  5. Get Adequate Sleep. Quality sleep is crucial for maintaining good health and preventing Type 2 diabetes. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, as inadequate sleep can disrupt hormones related to blood sugar control and increase the risk of insulin resistance.
  6. Limit Alcohol Consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This typically means up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  7. Avoid Smoking. Smoking is a known risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. If you smoke, seek support to quit. Quitting smoking not only reduces your risk of diabetes but also improves your overall health.
  8. Regular Check-Ups. Regular medical check-ups can help you monitor your health and detect any potential issues early. Discuss your diabetes risk factors with your health care provider and follow their recommendations for screenings and preventive measures. 
Preventing Type 2 diabetes involves making positive lifestyle choices that promote overall health. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, staying active, managing stress, and making other healthy choices, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing this chronic condition. Remember that small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements in your health and wellbeing, ultimately helping you prevent Type 2 diabetes and enjoy a healthier life. 
Preventing Type 2 diabetes: A guide to a healthier lifestyle
Media Contact

Angela Deja

Director, Public Relations and Communications