"The best data we have is that lifestyle interventions are most effective in preventing diabetes," she said.
A half hour of physical activity most days of the week, adding up to 150 total minutes per week, combined with a low-calorie healthy diet, have been shown to help stave off the onset of diabetes, she said.
Once a person has diabetes, the fight shifts to managing the disease and preventing complications.
"We have a lot of problems that are connected with diabetes," Albright said. "Controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol is essential to prevent those complications."
One new tool that could help people control their blood sugar are glucose sensors now being developed that are placed under the skin, Buse said. The sensors monitor blood sugar levels and transmit the information to a sensor.
"You really have to adjust insulin levels based on physical activity and diet, and it can be very tricky," he said. "This gives patients a more continuous way of monitoring their blood sugar."
Added Albright: "It's critical we work on good management of the disease and preventing new cases. It's a two-sided coin we're working with here."
To learn more, visit the American Diabetes Association.
SOURCES: Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Division of Diabetes Translation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, and director, Diabetes Care Center, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, and president of medicine and science, American Diabetes Association
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