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Study: Lifestyle Change Can Prevent, Slow Down Diabetes

CBSNews -- A new study shows there are ways to prevent or slow down diabetes.
CBSNews -- A new study shows there are ways to prevent or slow down diabetes.

68-year-old Arlene Gartenberg was diagnosed with type two diabetes in September. Her doctor suggested more exercise and a healthier diet.

"Foods like vegetables, a lot of salads, and fruit and less emphasis on junk food, so that has become my bible," Gartenberg says.

A new national study followed high risk patients for 15 years and found prevention treatments for diabetes work.

"Diet, exercise and the use of the drug Metformin were able to prevent the progression to diabetes to a very significant degree," says Dr. Mark Wiesen with Hackensack University Medical Center.

An estimated 79 million American adults are at risk for developing type-two diabetes. Genetics play a role. People who are overweight and sedentary are also at high risk. Dr. Wiesen says the right choices are key.

"Lifestyle changes -- percentage wise -- were twice as effective as medication alone in preventing progression to diabetes," he says.

Gartenberg is glad she took control of her health.

"Aerobics class, Pilates and an hour of yoga, and then I do a lot of walking," she says.

She's lowered her blood sugar levels and lost 18 pounds.

Complications from diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputations and heart disease.

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