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Healthy lifestyle can help prevent diabetes in even pre-diabetes cases: Expert

CATHERINE W GICHUKI
doha
HEALTHY lifestyle is very effective in diabetes prevention, whether a person has pre-diabetes or has a very high genetic risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, said Director of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Qatar Metabolic Institute and Co-Chair of National Diabetes Strategy Dr Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra.
In a video by HMC titled ‘How to protect yourself from becoming diabetic’, Abou-Samra said healthy lifestyle is 60 percent effective in protecting people from diabetes – more effective than any medication that they were aware of. “Thus it is possible to prevent diabetes regardless whether you have pre diabetes or whether you have a very high genetic risk for developing Type 2 diabetes,” he said.
He explained that pre-diabetes is when the blood sugar is a little high, but not so high to be called diabetes. “That person has a 10 percent chance of developing diabetes in the first year and 10 percent each in the following years. So, there is 100 percent chance of that person’s becoming a diabetic if he or she does not change the lifestyle on time.”
He, however, reiterated a healthy lifestyle can help that person protect himself from developing diabetes. “The person who has pre-diabetes can reverse the course of the disease, returning to normal glycemic control by just adopting a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr Abou-Samra explained that type 2 diabetes develops in adults and that it takes time to develop. “It stays for a long time as sub-clinical in which there are no symptoms. And when it develops the patients may not know it for a long time. Most of the time it is preceded by a period called pre-diabetes and usually genetic factors are important. Therefore, in the same family there may be many members of the family with diabetes,” he said.
He added that if one member of the family doesn’t have diabetes, the person has a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, if he/she does not adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Dr Abou-Samra said that a US Diabetes Prevention Programme study recommends 30 minute exercise daily and putting persons on a diet so that they lose 7 percent of their body weight within 3 months.
“The study was conducted on both people with very high genetic risk for diabetes and those with no genetic risk for the disease. It was found out that lifestyle modification was equally effective in prevention of diabetes in both groups. No matter how many members of your family have diabetes, you have a chance to protect yourself and prevent Type 2 diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle,” he concluded.

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