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Can exercise help prevent type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome?

Exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome by helping you lose weight, lower high blood pressure, decrease high blood sugar levels and raise levels of HDL (the good cholesterol).

Both the definition and the cause of metabolic syndrome are still controversial, however. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high levels of triglycerides, low levels of HDL, and excess weight, especially abdominal fat. The cause may be insulin resistance -- when cells ignore the effects of insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is high blood sugar that results when cells become resistant to insulin, the hormone needed to allow glucose from the bloodstream to enter cells. The pancreas may also slow down production of insulin in type 2 diabetes.

For exercise to be effective, you should do it at least 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.