Five Ways to Stop Prediabetes in its Tracks

Prediabetes may be the precursor to diabetes, but it is still a serious health condition. Blood sugar levels are higher than normal, just not quite high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, approximately 88 million American adults – 1 in 3 – have prediabetes. What’s worse, more than 84% don’t even know they have it. Prediabetics have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Do You Have Prediabetes?

There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, which is why the condition often goes undetected. There are, though, some obvious indicators. You might be prediabetic if:

  • You are overweight
  • You are 45 years or older
  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You don’t exercise regularly

Getting Tested

If you suspect you might have prediabetes, don’t delay. Taking a simple blood sugar test will let you know if you have prediabetes. During your next check-up, ask your doctor to see if you should be tested.

The Good News About Prediabetes

Don’t assume the worst. Whether or not you have prediabetes, now is the time to make lifestyle changes that can delay or even prevent prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and other serious health issues.

  1. Eat healthy. Choose foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Eat fewer refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice and pasta. Instead, focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  2. Stay active. Target at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. That amounts to five brisk 30-minute walks or two cardio-intensive exercise classes.
  3. Lose weight. Give yourself a goal of 5% to 7% of your body weight (that’s just 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person). Once you’ve reached your goal, maintain – and enjoy – the healthier weight.
  4. Stop smoking. Prediabetes is just one of the numerous health risks to smoking.
  5. Take medications as needed. If you are at high risk, your doctor can recommend medications that can help control cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Being aware of the symptoms of prediabetes and whether you are at risk are the first steps in prevention. You now have the know-how and the information to do your part in keeping this covert health condition from sneaking into your life.

Sources:
American Diabetes Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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