Published: 10/06/2015 - Updated: 12/27/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Prediabetes is a condition whereby glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. An estimated one out of three people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes, which makes this an important risk factor that should be treated in order to be reversed or controlled.
If you takes action with enough time, there are a lot of possibilities for reversing prediabetes, thereby preventing its consequences.
Prediabetes is also known as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. This depends on the test that was used to make the diagnosis. Suffering from this could increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even stroke.
Blood glucose levels must be measured in order to diagnose prediabetes. One is considered to be prediabetic when fasting glucose levels are somewhere between 110 and 125 mg/dl. Anything higher than 100 mg/dl, however, could also be considered high, at which point it is recommendable that actions be taken.
Risk factors for prediabetes
Prediabetes has no symptoms, which is why it’s a good idea to do a regular glucose analysis if you exhibit any of the following risk factors:
- Being 45 years of age or older
- Overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity or very little physical activity
- Having one or more direct family members with diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels
- If you had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- If you experience hyperpigmentation in the armpits, neck, or groin (acantosis nigricans)
- Also, some ethnicities may also be at greater risk of developing prediabetes, such as descendants from the Middle East, Southern Asia, the Pacific Islands, and North Africa.
If you are overweight and have any of the aforementioned risk factors, it would be a good idea to have a glucose level checkup once a year, even more so if you are over 45 years of age.
Prediabetes, advice for reversing it
Being prediabetic is a sign that something is amiss in the body. Detecting this is also an opportunity to prevent diseases from developing later on.
In a lot of cases, this can be reversed, or one can prevent it from developing into diabetes, with appropriate changes in habits.
Losing weight: this is one of the primary steps. Studies show that losing at least 5 to 10% of your body weight could prevent and even reverse prediabetes. It’s best to eat a low-calorie diet. You absolutely must control your carbohydrate consumption, and avoid large meals.
Get active!: It’s no shocker that regular physical activity is an excellent way to control glucose levels. Physical activity plays a very important role, as it improves insulin functioning. We recommend, at a minimum, to do 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week.
If you are not used to doing regular physical activity, it’s best to start out with a moderate paced exercise, and slowly increase time and intensity. Repeat the rhythm until you reach the recommended minimum.
Rest: Sleep is important for health, and lack of sleep affects good insulin functioning. This harms glucose levels in the blood. Try to sleep at least 6 hours a day, 8 hours ideally. Follow a sleep schedule and stick to it, try not to use cell phones, computers, and TV’s before going to bed, as this can affect your rest.
Your diet should be low-calorie with the intent of losing weight, but you should also try to eat a healthy diet. Chose the healthiest foods that provide energy.
Avoid fried food, pastries, candy, ice cream, and anything considered to be junk food. Try instead to eat fruits or vegetables. For example, carrot sticks or a fresh apple.
Try to reduce your fat consumption, avoiding fried foods, or battered foods. Try to use cooking methods that reduce fat levels, like steaming, baking or grilling.
And lastly, avoid consuming drinks that are sweetened with sugar. Use a natural sugar substitute instead, like stevia, but fresh water is the best thing to drink.
Prediabetes is not the same as diabetes
If you make the appropriate changes in your habits, you may be able to reverse prediabetes. So listen to your body, you still have time. Once you reverse the prediabetes, you may then eat anything, always in moderation and only on occasion, however. Falling back into excess will once again create glucose problems.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/27/2017
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