Reducing your risk of Alzheimer's

In research, working with your health care team to prevent diabetes or manage your diabetes has been shown to be an effective strategy to avoid or reduce complications. Managing your diabetes or preventing diabetes also may help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Preventing diabetes or managing it successfully may help you avoid other complications, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Eye damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Damage to your nerves, which may cause pain in your feet or hands (diabetic neuropathy)
  • Digestive problems
  • Gum disease
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

You can take several steps to prevent or manage diabetes and avoid potential complications, including:

  • Follow your health care team's recommendations about the most appropriate plan for monitoring your blood glucose, cholesterol level and blood pressure.
  • Eat healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat milk and cheese.
  • If you're overweight, eat a healthy diet and exercise to lose weight. Obesity can lead to diabetes and other health problems.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Brush and floss your teeth daily.
  • Examine your feet daily for sores.
  • Take any prescribed medications on schedule.

Small steps can make a big difference. In a large study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, participants with blood sugar levels slightly above normal (prediabetes) cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50 percent.

Participants lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and exercising for 30 minutes five days a week. That weight loss translates to 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.

April 03, 2013