How to prevent type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is becoming a big problem in this country. In fact, research done by the HSE predicts that cases of type 2 diabetes in Ireland will increase by 60% in the next 10- 15 years.[1]

To know why this is happening it’s important to understand what type 2 diabetes is.

It occurs when your body cannot properly make insulin. This is a serious issue because insulin is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in your bloodstream to provide energy. Without insulin regulating the glucose in your body, it results in too much sugar circulating in your bloodstream.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include feeling thirsty all the time, tiredness, unintentional weight loss, blurred vision, hands and feet feeling numb, getting infections frequently and needing to pee more than usual.

Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is a health condition that can be prevented by making some of the following changes to your lifestyle.

Lose excess weight

Type 2 diabetes and being overweight have a strong link so the best place to start to prevent type 2 diabetes is by getting rid of excess weight.

Studies from the Cleveland Clinic, actually show that you are 6 times more likely to get type 2 diabetes by being obese.[2]

Thankfully research shows that by just losing 5-10% of your body weight with added exercise you can reduce your chances of type 2 diabetes by 58%.[3]

Exercise regularly

Exercising is another great tool for preventing type 2 diabetes.

As mentioned above, by losing a modest amount of weight and doing just 150 minutes of exercise a week you can reduce your chances of getting type 2 types in half.

Aerobic exercise is especially good for preventing type 2 diabetes, studies have shown that it increases insulin sensitivity which helps to reduce your blood sugar levels.

Eat healthier

Eating high-fibre carbs such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds is a good way to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Fibre is great for controlling your blood sugar levels as it cannot be broken down by the body.

Additionally, another way to prevent type 2 diabetes is by reducing your intake of red and processed meats. Studies show that the consumption of red proceeded meat can actually increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. [4]

Quit smoking

Similarly, to being overweight, smoking also has a strong link to type 2 diabetes. Smokers are 30%-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke.[5]

This is because there are certain chemicals in cigarettes such as nicotine that attack the cells in your body which actually make the cells “stop responding to insulin.”[6]

Drink plenty of water

One of the simplest ways you can help prevent type 2 diabetes is by drinking plenty of water. Water helps control your blood sugar levels by flushing out and diluting the glucose in your bloodstream.

On the other side of that coin, drinking fizzy drinks actually raises your insulin and sugar levels in your body.


The bottom line is that with a few changes to your daily routine you can reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.  Making healthier diet choices, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, drinking plenty of water and if applicable quitting smoking are all things you can do to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

If you would like to book an appointment with Hazelhill Family Practice to talk about your concerns about type 2 diabetes, click here.








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