Diabetes Prevention (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Type 2 diabetes prevention facts
- Introduction to diabetes prevention
- What is type 2 diabetes?
- What are the risks factors for developing diabetes?
- What "red flags" or symptoms point to an increased risk for diabetes?
- Is gestational diabetes a risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life?
- Diabetes prevention and diet
- Is there anything that can help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes?
- Are there medications that can help to prevent type 2 diabetes?
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
Is gestational diabetes a risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life?
The simple answer is yes.
The risk for type 2 diabetes is higher in women who have had gestational diabetes (diabetes of pregnancy). In general, type 2 diabetes will occur in about 40% of women with gestational diabetes over the following 10 years. This number increases to the 50% range if obesity is present.
There are efforts underway to see if treating women with gestational diabetes (using lifestyle, and medications such as thiazolidinediones) can change the course of development of type 2 diabetes. The results appear promising, and further work is being done to identify who will potentially respond to treatment.
Diabetes prevention and diet
Diet becomes a critical issue when dealing with disease processes. When exploring dietary factors as a contributor to disease processes one must take a number of things into account, for example, is it the food itself or the weight gain associated with its consumption that is the risk? Is it the food, or the age/lifestyle of those consuming it that is the risk? While cinnamon, coffee, and fenugreek seeds are among the many food products that some feel are associated with development/prevention of diabetes, none of these have truly been fully scientifically evaluated. The food patterns mentioned below have been adequately studied, and the results are independent of weight, age, physical activity, and family history. Therefore, with these nutritional topics, it truly looks like the results are related to the specific foods themselves.
A "Western" diet vs. a "healthy" diet
In a study of over 42,000 men, diets high in red meat, processed meat, high fat dairy products, and sweets were associated with an increased risk of diabetes by almost two times that of those eating a "healthy" diet. Again, this is independent of weight gain and other factors mentioned previously.
The data on dairy products seems to vary, depending if the person is obese or not. In obese individuals, the more dairy consumed, the lower the risk for the metabolic syndrome. Specifically, those consuming more than 35 servings of dairy foods a week had a much lower risk compared to those consuming less than 10 servings a week. Interestingly, this association is not as strong in lean individuals.
Sugar consumption alone has not been associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. There is of course, weight gain associated with sugar consumption. However, after adjusting for weight gain and other variables, there appears to be a relationship between drinking sugar-laden beverages and the development of type 2 diabetes. Women who drink one or more of these drinks a day have almost twice the risk of developing diabetes than women who drink one a month or less.
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