Research studies in the United States and abroad have found that lifestyle changes can prevent or
delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among high-risk adults. These studies included people with IGT
and other high-risk characteristics for developing diabetes. Lifestyle interventions included diet
and moderate-intensity physical activity (such as walking for 2 1/2 hours each week). For both
sexes and all age and racial and ethnic groups, the development of diabetes was reduced 40% to 60%
during these studies. Studies have also shown that medications have
been successful in preventing diabetes in some population groups. In the Diabetes Prevention
Program, a large prevention study of people at high risk for diabetes, people treated with the
drug metformin reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 31%. Treatment with metformin was
most effective among younger, heavier people (those 25-40 years of age who were 50 to 80 pounds
overweight) and less effective among older people and people who were not as overweight. There are
no known methods to prevent type 1 diabetes. Several clinical trials are currently in progress.
Prevention of diabetes complications
Research studies in the United States and abroad have found that improved glycemic control
benefits people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In general, for every 1% reduction
in A1C, the risk of developing microvascular diabetic complications (eye, kidney and nerve
disease) is reduced by 40%.
Blood pressure control
Blood pressure control can reduce cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) by
approximately 33% to 50% and can reduce microvascular disease (eye, kidney, and nerve
disease) by approximately 33%.
In general, for every 10 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure, the risk for any
complication related to diabetes is reduced by 12%.
Control of blood lipids
Improved control of cholesterol and lipids (for example, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides)
can reduce cardiovascular complications by 20% to 50%.
Preventive care practices for eyes, kidneys, and feet
What is Diabetes
Detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease with laser therapy can reduce the
development of severe vision loss by an estimated 50% to 60%.
Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45% to 85%.
Detection and treatment of early diabetic kidney disease can reduce the development
of kidney failure by 30% to 70%.
Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes and Eye Conditions
Diabetes and Nephropathy
Impact of Diabetes