A diagnosis of prediabetes can be reversed with the right lifestyle changes.
The doctor just told you you’ve got it. But you can breathe a sigh of relief. A diagnosis of prediabetes does not guarantee you’re going to develop diabetes. A chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar, diabetes is the result of genetics, poor lifestyle choices, or obesity. And if left untreated, diabetes can cause serious complications and even death. So finding out you have prediabetes, the condition leading up to diabetes, should get your attention. Such a diagnosis reveals you have high blood sugar levels that are on their way to diabetes. In the event you’re told you have prediabetes, don’t ignore it. Consider it a warning sign that danger is ahead if you don’t make some major lifestyle changes.
Here are 5 things you can do to help prevent prediabetes from progressing.
1. Eat Right
The foods you eat have a direct effect on your blood sugar levels, which means your diet plays the biggest role in reversing diabetes. Remove junk food from your pantry and stock up on low-carb whole foods. A low glycemic diet is a simple way to know which foods to eat or avoid with prediabetes. This diet focuses on lean proteins, healthy fats, and foods high in fiber like vegetables, some fruits, and whole grains. Also, water and unsweetened tea should be your drinks of choice.
At the same time, you’ll do well to avoid white sugar, white rice, white bread, white pasta, and foods made with white flour. Finally, don’t eat highly processed foods, fatty cuts of meat, or fried foods, and since you’re downing water, skip soda, fruit juice, and other sweet drinks.
2. Get More Exercise
Exercise is an effective way to use up the extra sugar that’s in your blood. It also helps your body become more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Make it your goal to lead an active lifestyle by getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. That’s only two and a half hours a week. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine. Walking, jogging, cycling, yoga, and tennis are all great options.
3. Lose Weight
Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes. Excess weight hinders your body from properly using insulin. If your body mass index is greater than 25, work towards losing just 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight and you’ll greatly reduce your chances of developing the disease. For a 200-pound person, this is just shaving off 10 to 20 pounds.
Plan to lose weight in a healthy way through diet and exercise. Avoid fad diets and extremely low calorie diets. Remember, there are more benefits to weight loss than just preventing diabetes.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking is one cause of type 2 diabetes. If you smoke, your risk of developing diabetes becomes 30 to 40 percent higher than it is with those who don’t smoke. Smoking also makes managing diabetes more difficult and increases the risk of health complications. Want a cut-and-dry way to sidestep diabetes? Take steps to quit smoking now. Whether you go cold turkey, take medications, or work with a medical professional, quitting smoking will be decision you won’t regret.
5. Monitor Efforts
As you make the necessary lifestyle changes to avoid chronic disease, work closely with your doctor. Every three months have your blood glucose levels checked to see if you’re on the right track. Or better yet, use a home glucose monitor to check your blood via finger stick tests. These at-home tests are a great way to track your body’s response to the foods you eat, the exercise you get, and the weight you lose.