Type 1 Diabetes:
Primary prevention Ideas:
- Doctors can do DNA testing of persons who have type 1 diabetes in the family.
- Vaccination against the virus that triggers the disease. Unfortunately, the virus has not been identified yet.
- Antiviral agents given to people at high risk is another idea. However, this approach has only been successful in animal testing.
Secondary Prevention Ideas:
There are several studies looking for ways to block the autoantibody cells which destroy the beta cells of the pancreas. Among them are:
- Steroid drugs – Prednisone
- Cytotoxic drugs
- Insulin – small amounts injected daily
- Nicotinomide (a B vitamin)
These approaches have been only partially successful in delaying the beginning of symptoms. They have not shown a true ability to prevent the disease.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes can be predicted years before it develops by studying close relatives who already have it.
Primary Prevention Ideas:
- Identify those at risk
- Eliminate or decrease the risk factors
-Maintain or achieve a reasonable body weight, especially if have waist line obesity
-Increase physical activity – exercise at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes
-Increase intake of dietary fiber (eat more whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and decrease the intake refined foods)
Secondary Prevention (once diabetes develops):
- Prevent long-term complications
-Correct high blood pressure and lipids
-Achieve and maintain blood glucose control
Although scientists have not found THE way to prevent diabetes altogether, there are things that can be done to delay its development. Whatever one can do to delay and/or prevent the disease and complications is very worthwhile. Eventually, science will find a cure and prevention, which will be enjoyed by those who have survived it.