Many scientists believe that diabetes can be prevented. Because the causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are different, approaches to preventing each form of diabetes are different.
Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an allergic-like reaction, probably to insulin, the pancreas, or some substance in the pancreas. If this is true, then it is likely that diabetes can be prevented by giving the vulnerable person miniature shots of insulin; a great deal like allergy, shots may avert fever. This advance has been triumphant in animals that were bred to acquire diabetes. However, this approach was not successful in a National Institutes of Health clinical trial. Other approaches, such as oral insulin, are still being investigated.
Type 2 diabetes does not appear to be founded by an allergic response. The cause is probably related to a hereditary defect that reduces a person’s sensitivity to insulin. New medications used early on may avoid type 2 diabetes. In addition, lifestyle changes, including exercise and weight loss, may prevent it. The Diabetes Prevention Program has recently shown that diet and exercise prevent the incidence of diabetes by about 60%, with the oral medication, metformin, preventing about 30%.
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