Prevention and Screening

While nothing can be done to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are steps anybody can take to minimize the risk of developing type 2 diabetes — or manage it after it has already developed.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test

It's never too late to steer yourself away from type 2 diabetes. It just requires making some healthy adjustments in your routine. Knowing if you're at risk is a powerful way to start.
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    Take a screening test

    All adults starting at age 35 should be screened for diabetes. However, your provider may recommend you be screened earlier if you have certain risk factors.
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    Exercise regularly

    In addition to making you feel healthy and strong, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, increase energy levels, improve mood, lower blood pressure, increase high-density protein (HDL) cholesterol, and better manage blood sugar levels.
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    Maintain a healthy weight

    Staying in a healthy weight range reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and stroke. Losing even just a small amount of weight (5-7% of your body weight or 10-14 lbs for a 200lb person) can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes!
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    Eat right

    Eating a balanced, healthy diet is an important part of promoting overall health and managing your diabetes. The diabetes myplate is a great starting point on how to create a healthy, balanced meal.


For those with prediabetes, 5-7% weight loss and 150 minutes of exercise per week can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old), according to the CDC. Focusing on developing healthy habits can help reduce your risk.
Avoid or limit highly processed foods
Choose water over sugary drinks
Eat a well-balanced diet
Exercise regularly
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Limit alcohol intake
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Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI)
Quit smoking
Remember that small changes can lead to big results. Even adding a few healthier habits can help make an impact and prevent diabetes. Learn more about small changes you can make.


More than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t know they have it. Even people with type 2 diabetes may not know they have diabetes. In fact, about 1 in 5 American adults have type 2 diabetes, but don’t know it. That is why regular screenings are recommended.

It can take many years for symptom of type 2 diabetes to develop and many people may not notice symptoms at all. If you are experiencing any of the problems listed below, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have diabetes. It means it’s a good time to see your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and get checked for diabetes.

  • Increased thirst
  • Hunger after eating
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet

Screening for Diabetes

If your healthcare provider wants to determine whether you have diabetes or prediabetes, there are several types of tests that can be run. Sometimes, these same tests are also used to rule out diabetes.
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    An A1c blood test measures the amount of sugar present in hemoglobin. That’s the protein that distributes oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin that has sugar attached to it is officially called HgbA1c, which is how the test got its name.

    Amount of sugar in hemoglobin

    • Normal A1c Levels: below 5.7%
    • Prediabetes: 5.7% - 6.4%
    • Type 2 Diabetes: 6.5% or above
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    FPG stands for “fasting plasma glucose.” The FPG test measures the amount of glucose levels found in the blood after the person has fasted.

    Amount of glucose in blood after fasting

    • Normal FPG Levels: 99 mg/dL or below
    • Prediabetes: 100 mg/dL - 125 mg/dL
    • Type 2 Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or above
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    The OGTT— or oral glucose tolerance test—is done in two steps. After giving a fasting blood sample, the patient drinks a special glucose mixture and then gives another blood sample two hours later.

    Glucose tolerance

    • Normal OGTT Levels 139 mg/dL or below
    • Prediabetes: 140 mg/dL –199 mg/dL
    • Type 2 Diabetes 200 mg/dL or above

Find a screening location

Asking your provider for a diabetes or prediabetes screening is a good thing to do when you go for your annual checkup. If you don’t have health insurance or a regular healthcare provider, there are other places you can go for screening.
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The American Diabetes Association’s risk test is online and available to take any time. There are also several community and health organizations throughout Arizona that offer diabetes screening and counseling services—sometimes for free. If you use one of these services and your results show that you have diabetes or are at high risk, you should take that information to your primary care provider (PCP).
The National Kidney Foundation of Arizona - Free public “Path to Wellness Screenings” are offered throughout the state. Find information, locations, and details on how to register.
Walgreens Diabetes Screening and Counseling - Get diabetes screenings and information at your local Walgreens Healthcare Clinic. Learn more, find a location, and schedule an appointment.

Risk Factors & Risk Test

There are many things that can make a person more vulnerable to type 2 diabetes. Some are manageable, while others are not. Having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean you’ll develop diabetes. However, it can be helpful to know what healthcare providers look for when they’re screening for diabetes.
  • Parents and/or siblings with diabetes
  • BMI 25+ or 23+ for Asian Americans
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • A history of gestational diabetes or delivering an infant weighing more than nine pounds
  • A history of polycystic ovary syndrome

Certain ethnicities

According to the American Diabetes Association, the rates of diagnosed diabetes within the following communities are:
  • 15.1%

    Native Americans / Alaskan Natives
  • 12.7%

    Non-Hispanic Black People
  • 12.1%

  • 8.0%

    Asian Americans
  • 7.4%

    Non-Hispanic White People