Prediabetes is the condition where your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not quite high enough to be classified as diabetes. Many adults are unaware that they have prediabetes, as the symptoms may not be very noticeable.
However, if left unchecked, prediabetes can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The good news is that you can take control of your condition and reverse the effects and risks associated with prediabetes by following the steps below.
If you are over 45 years of age, are overweight, and lead a sedentary lifestyle, then you are especially at risk for developing prediabetes. Combat this and reverse the side effects and associated risks by implementing the following lifestyle changes.
Lose weight: Having a healthy weight can help you control and regulate your blood sugar levels. This weight loss does not have to be drastic, as losing just seven percent of your body weight can be effective in reducing the effects of prediabetes. These numbers translate to losing just 14 pounds for a 200-pound individual.
Change your diet: Your diet has a huge impact on your overall health, and changes to what you eat can help prevent and reverse prediabetes. Choose fresh produce over processed foods and treats, and try filling your plate in sections. Half should be comprised of non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and asparagus, with one quarter making up starchy foods like potatoes, corn, or peas, and the remaining quarter consisting of lean protein like chicken or fish. Try to avoid foods heavy in carbs like pastas, as they can raise your blood sugar. This tip goes hand in hand with losing weight, as eating a well-balanced and healthy diet will aid in your weight loss goals.
Exercise: Adding exercise into your daily routine will not only help you lose weight, but can increase your overall health as well. Breaking your sedentary lifestyle by adding in even 30 minutes of brisk walking a few times a week can help keep your blood sugar levels regulated, which helps to manage prediabetes.
Sleep well: Many of us lead busy lives, and as a result, sleep quality has fallen by the wayside. Sleeping for less than five hours a night, especially if that sleep is disturbed, can increase your risk of developing diabetes. Combat this by implementing a strict sleep schedule. Pick a bedtime that will allow you to get between seven and eight hours of sleep and go to bed at this time every day. Also, stop consuming alcohol and caffeine a few hours before bedtime to ensure a more restful sleep. Adopt a quiet routine before bed that limits the use of screens—try reading a book or magazine rather than settling in front of the television.
Quit smoking: If you smoke, quitting can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 to 40 percent. If you don’t smoke, keep it that way and try to stay away from secondhand smoke. The symptoms of diabetes are worse for smokers and the habit can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar under control.
Prediabetes is reversible, provided you commit to a healthier lifestyle that includes losing weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and avoiding cigarettes. These changes can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease by helping you better manage your blood sugar levels. If you are over 45, overweight, and are inactive, check with your doctor to determine whether you are prediabetic so you may implement these changes as early as possible.
Related: A soda a day increases prediabetes risk