Diabetes Mellitus Prevention

by Michael_Koger

Like many non-communicable chronic diseases, the management of diabetes mellitus entails lifestyle change and other preventive health behaviors.

Diabetes tends to occur in people who have other non-communicable chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and lipid abnormalities such as high cholesterol. Whereas medical management is essential to control the blood sugar, health behavior change such as exercise, dietary modification, and smoking cessation are equally important to afford the best prognosis [1, 2].

The occurrence of other chronic diseases increases the risk that any of them will worsen as the illness progresses. Sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary habits, and smoking will also interact in a synergistic fashion and aggravate each of these medical conditions. Without intervention on the part of both physician and patient, this scenario becomes a vicious cycle [1, 2].

The National Diabetes Prevention Program recommends lifestyle change for everyone who has, or is at risk for, these medical conditions.

Risk Factors

These risk factors and their interactions are well-known to medical doctors and other researchers.  It is evident that early diagnosis and treatment prevent many of the complications which emerge from any illness.  Should complications nevertheless occur, it is still possible to delay their progression with proper intervention from the health care team [1, 2, 3].

Most people have at least one risk factor for some of these illnesses.  For example, some women are at risk for gestational diabetes, and these mothers, as well as their offspring, have a predisposition for type 2 diabetes later in life.  Minorities such as African-Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic/Latino Americans are more likely to develop diabetes and its complications than members of other racial/ethnic groups [1, 2, 3].

Those who are at least 45 years of age are at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.  So are those individuals who have a family history of the condition especially when it occurs in a first-degree relative.  Overweight and obesity will also predispose to it.  Clients with prediabetes who do not modify their lifestyle may develop type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years [1, 2, 3].

Barriers to Health Care

As with many other illnesses, there are instances in which patients cannot obtain the care they need.  This is especially the case for those who live in poverty and do not have health insurance.  Moreover, cultural attitudes and behaviors will keep some from visits to a health care facility.  Mistrust of the health care system will hinder minorities and others from the pursuit of medical care [1].


There has been much progress in the diagnosis and management of diabetes mellitus, and the combination of lifestyle change and medical management will enable many people to live well into the elderly years.


  1. Centers for Disease Control.  (2015).  Diabetes.  Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  2. University at Albany.  State University of New York.  School of Public Health.  (2015).  Prediabetes:  How healthcare providers can take action.  Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  3. World Health Organization.  (2015).  Diabetes programme.  Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  4. The photo is of a library at the United States Centers for Disease Control.


The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.

Updated: 07/06/2015, Michael_Koger
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Mira on 07/07/2015

I've learned a few things but would have liked more specific things, such as studies with people who have changed their lifestyle and improved their blood sugar number, or even what the dangerous, threshold blood sugar numbers are.

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