Prediabetes can be a scary diagnosis to receive from your doctor. However, for some, it can be a lifesaving wake-up call. The goal of this article is to help you better understand prediabetes and provide some simple steps you can take to prevent progression to Type 2 diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for your doctor to diagnose diabetes.
It is estimated that almost 85 million individuals in the U.S. have prediabetes, or in other words, nearly 1 in 3 Americans!
You can have prediabetes for years and not experience any symptoms, but don’t let that fool you. Prediabetes is an extremely serious health condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Oftentimes, prediabetes will not have clear or present symptoms.
For many people, this is why it is undetected for years until more serious health problems occur. Unfortunately, that is sometimes too late to act.
If you have any of the following risk factors for prediabetes, talk to a trusted health care provider about getting your blood sugar tested.
Prediabetes Risk Factors
There are several factors that increase who is at risk for prediabetes.
- Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Carrying excess weight (especially around the waist)
- Being over 45 years old
- Eating a poor diet
- Not staying active
- Coming from specific race/ethnic backgrounds
Although these factors increase the risk that somebody develops prediabetes, it is not a certainty. With a healthy diet and regular activity, many at-risk individuals prevent and even reverse prediabetes.
Prediabetes is caused by the body’s inability to make or use insulin properly.
As a result, glucose is unable to enter your body’s cells effectively which results in high blood sugar, otherwise known as hyperglycemia.
Over time, prolonged high blood sugar causes overproduction of insulin which disrupts and damages the body’s insulin receptors. This only compounds the issue by increasing blood sugar even further.
The cycle continues until eventually, it leads to the development of type 2 diabetes.
So how do you break the cycle?
3 Tips to Preventing Prediabetes
The American Diabetes Association and Web MD offer several lifestyle suggestions for those trying to reverse prediabetes.
Here are 3 tips to get you started.
Move for 30 Minutes Each Day
Try to set a goal for yourself to move for at least 30 minutes each day. It can be something as simple as running errands, playing with your kids or grandchildren, or even just walking around your neighborhood.
The key is just to get moving!
Additionally, you can start with less time and work your way up to 30 minutes if you need to. However, be sure to check with your doctor before increasing your effort level.
Improve Your Diet
Improving what you put into your body is another great way to reverse prediabetes.
Avoiding refined carbs like white bread, soda, and juice is a good place to start. Try to replace these with healthier choices like non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and other types of superfoods. Start small and set minor goals for yourself with a focus on improving each week.
The best diet is the one you can stick to and even small changes can make a major difference over the long term.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress hormones can raise your blood sugar.
By making a commitment each day to set time aside for relaxation, you will be able to better manage your stress levels as well as have the energy needed to exercise.
You may think you don’t have any time to rest during the day, but this dedicated time each day can provide a much-needed boost for your health. In addition, this time can help boost your overall productivity throughout the day.
A few suggestions for activities that promote relaxation include listening to music, deep breathing or meditation, or taking up a new hobby!
How you choose to relax is not important. What matters is choosing something you enjoy and staying consistent with it over time.
Prediabetes Isn’t Forever
Prediabetes is extremely serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly, however, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.
These 3 tips will help you get started on your journey, but the most important thing is to find something that works for you and stay consistent.
Understand that prediabetes didn’t happen overnight and reversing it won’t either.
But with a focus on consistently improving over time, you can take back control of your health and avoid more serious complications.