Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prediabetes is pretty common with an estimated 88 million American adults living with the condition.
Prediabetes does put you at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes but, the good news is that it can be reversed. While certain lifestyle changes are always a great way to start, medication is sometimes prescribed as part of prediabetes treatment to help in managing any significant symptoms or side effects.
Some lifestyle modifications that can help bring your blood sugar levels back to normal and potentially reverse prediabetes include:
- Eating healthy foods
- Being active
- Sticking to a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
See also: What Is Prediabetes?
What should I do if I am prediabetic?
For people with prediabetes, opting to make healthy lifestyle changes is one of the best steps to can take to help bring blood sugar levels back to normal and help prevent type 2 diabetes .
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), preventing diabetes can be as simple as making different food choices and getting active. Some recommended lifestyle changes include:
See also: What is the best treatment for diabetes?
Eating healthy foods
A diet high in processed foods or red meat can have a negative impact on your blood glucose. Choosing to eat a variety of healthy foods will not only help towards keeping your blood sugar levels healthy, it will have a positive effect on your overall well-being.
Some foods that can be incorporated into your diet include:
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Lean meats
- Healthy fats
See also: What Does High Blood Sugar Mean?
According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in those with prediabetes . It’s also a great way to increase insulin sensitivity and can play a part in reversing insulin resistance.
Take a walk with friends or put some time aside to dance to your favourite songs in your living room - make working up a sweat a fun part of your everyday routine!
See also: What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Sticking to a healthy weight
The Diabetes Prevention Programme, sponsored by NIDDK, showed that for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, losing a modest amount of weight helped in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes .
If you are overweight or obese, weight loss may help in managing and reversing prediabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended a weight loss of around 5% to 7% of body weight - around 10-14 pounds for a person who is 200 pounds.
See also: Diabetes-Friendly Foods: 10 Foods That Help Control Blood Sugar
Smoking is just one of a number of risk factors associated with both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the FDA, smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers .
If you’re a smoker, you’re considered at high risk for developing diabetes, so try your best to quit for the sake of your blood sugar levels and your overall wellbeing!
See also: Is Diabetes Genetic, Hereditary, or Both?
What foods to avoid if you are prediabetic
There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing prediabetes - diet being one of them. This is why it’s so important for people with prediabetes to keep a close eye on their food choices to help in keeping your blood sugar levels healthy and work towards reversing the condition.
Some tips towards making the right food choices include:
- Follow the glycemic index to guide food choices
- Cut out drinks high in sugar such as sodas
- Drink plenty of water
Should prediabetics take medication?
While lifestyle changes are the most recommended form of treatment for people with prediabetes, the American Heart Association notes that at times, medications are prescribed to help in managing related conditions or significant prediabetes side effects.
Once diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Your doctor will take into account whether you have any other health problems as well as a number of other factors before deciding if medication is needed.
Can prediabetes be reversed permanently?
If prediabetes goes untreated, it can potentially progress into type 2 diabetes - a form of diabetes that unfortunately cannot be completely cured. Thankfully, there are tried and tested ways to avoid this and potentially reverse prediabetes completely. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced healthy diet, and working up a sweat can all help towards reversing, or slowing down the progress, of prediabetes.
Testing your blood sugar levels on a regular basis is one of the best ways to keep an eye on how well your blood sugar levels are being controlled.
LetsGetChecked offers an HbA1c test which provides insight into your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months from the time of taking the test. Your online results will be available to you within 5 days and our medical team will be available every step of the way to answer any questions you may have.
See also: How do you Check Diabetes From Home?
- Mayo Clinic. Prediabetes. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2020
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes. Online: Niddk.nih.gov, 2018
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Diabetes Prevention Programme. Online: Niddk.nih.gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Diabetes. Online: Cdc.gov, 2020