Some of the steps to help prevent diabetes don’t require severe actions. Modest weight loss, a better diet and physical activity can help hold off the disease.

Getting tested to determine your risk level for diabetes also is recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

November is Diabetes Awareness month. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that people can delay and possibly prevent the disease by losing a small amount of weight (5 to 7 percent of total body weight) through 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and healthier eating.

The study’s results indicate that millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories. Weight loss and physical activity lower the risk of diabetes by improving the body’s ability to use insulin and process glucose.

Who should be tested for prediabetes and diabetes

The American Diabetes Association recommends that testing to detect prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes be considered in adults without symptoms who are overweight or obese and have one or more additional risk factors for diabetes. For those without these risk factors, testing should begin at age 45.

Risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes – in addition to being overweight or obese or being age 45 or older – include the following:

-Being physically inactive

-Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes

-Having a family background that is African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander

-Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or being diagnosed with gestational diabetes-diabetes first found during pregnancy

-Having high blood pressure-140/90 mmHg or above-or being treated for high blood pressure

-Having HDL, or “good,” cholesterol below 35 mg/dL, or a triglyceride level above 250 mg/dL

Having polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS

Having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) on previous testing

-Having other conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as severe obesity or a condition called acanthosis nigricans, characterized by a dark, velvety rash around the neck or armpits

-Having a history of cardiovascular disease

If results of testing are normal, testing should be repeated at least every 3 years. Doctors may recommend more frequent testing depending on initial results and risk status.