Having diabetes means the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood are too high. Diabetes is a chronic (long-term) condition.
Many things can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes. For example, you're more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you're over age 45, you're overweight, or you have prediabetes. People with prediabetes have blood glucose levels higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Having prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Diabetes is a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. The good news is that you can do a lot to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, including:
- Watching your weight
- Eating healthy
- Staying active
- Quitting smoking
Talk with your doctor or nurse about steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes. Your doctor may also refer you to a registered dietician. A registered dietician is a health professional who helps people with healthy eating.
What do I ask the doctor?
When you visit the doctor, it helps to have questions written down ahead of time. You can also ask a family member or friend to go with you to take notes. Print this list of questions and take it with you to your next appointment.
- Am I at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?
- Do you recommend that I get tested for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?
- What are the warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
- If I'm overweight, how much weight do I need to lose to lower my risk?
- What are some healthy ways to lose weight and keep it off?
- How much physical activity do I need to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes?
- What changes can I make to my diet to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes?
- Do my blood pressure numbers and cholesterol levels increase my risk for type 2 diabetes?
- Can you give me some information about preventing type 2 diabetes to take home with me?
- Can you refer me to a diabetes prevention program nearby?
Content last updated October 7, 2021
This content on preventing diabetes was adapted from materials from the National Diabetes Education Program and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Stephanie C. Creel, MA
Associate Director for Communications Science
Division of Diabetes Translation
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion