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Learn about a host of diabetes-related topics such as how many Americans suffer from this disease to how to easily adjust to a new diet after diagnoses. This section will provide you with the information you need to make informed dietary decisions regarding diabetes.

Understanding Prediabetes: 7 Changes to Make Now

Gain a better understanding of prediabetes and what a diagnosis means for you, along with how to reverse the condition by making these lifestyle changes now.

Understanding Prediabetes: 7 Changes to Make Now

Prediabetes is a serious health condition in which blood sugars reach higher than normal levels, though are not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Based on 2015 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 34 percent of the U.S. adult population have prediabetes. However, the entire 34 percent are not destined to become diagnosed with diabetes.

Learn the real prediabetes meaning and what it means for you, along with how to reverse the condition by making lifestyle changes.

What Does Prediabetes Mean for Me?

Also recognized as borderline diabetes, prediabetes is when blood sugars start to elevate based on the body's compromised response to insulin or lack thereof. Insulin is a fundamental hormone required for glucose utilization, as it assists in glucose's entry into the cells following carbohydrate intake.

Clinically, prediabetes is identified based on a blood sugar level of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) following a fasting plasma glucose test, 140 to 100 mg/dL after an oral glucose tolerance test, and 5.7 to 6.4 percent based on hemoglobin A1C.

That being said, prediabetes is essentially a wake-up call and opportunity to prevent the impedance of a full-fledged diabetes diagnosis.

This means a diabetes is not a final destination, as there are lifestyle changes one can make for successfully reversing prediabetes.

Prediabetes Symptoms

While it would be ideal, there may not be noticeable prediabetes symptoms and signs.

Luckily, the following early indicators and risk factors may shine a glimpse of light and guide you towards prevention.

• Genetics: "It runs in the family" truly is a worthy defense. And while genetics should not be used as an excuse, a family history raises diabetes risk. Certain races and ethnicities also increases its likelihood, including African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander.

• Age: Like genetics, aging is an unmodifiable risk factor and should be recognized and anticipated. Diabetes risk is suggested to rise especially after age 45.

• Overweight and Obesity: Having excess weight is a serious risk factor, if not the largest, of progressing to diabetes and other health conditions. Being overweight or obese is classified as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 or 30, respectively.

• Certain Medical Conditions: People with certain medical conditions, including gestational diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), are at greater risk of developing prediabetes.

• Sedentary Lifestyle: Leading a sedentary lifestyle, or being physically active less than 3 times weekly, raises the risk of prediabetes.

• Energy Loss: When sugar continues to circulate in the blood rather than taken up by the cells, they are essentially deprived of functional energy. Interestingly, energy loss may occur related to poor sleeping patterns and there is a strong link between inadequate sleep and diabetes risk.

• Increased Urination and Thirst: Simply put, the body increases urine production when glucose remains in the blood rather than taken up by cells. Frequent urination ultimately leads to fluid lose and dehydration, further cycling increased thirst.

• Darkened Skin: Although mostly recognized on individuals with diabetes, a condition known as acanthosis nigricans may surface. Acanthosis nigricans displays dark, velvety skin, mostly patched on the groin, neck, and armpits.

Reversing Prediabetes With 7 Lifestyle Changes

Without taking charge and making lifestyle modifications, 15 to 30 percent of individuals with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within a five-year span.

But when making the following changes now, you can live a more healthful, quality life without becoming a quantifiable statistic.

1. Manage Weight

Weight loss and maintenance are extremely valuable, if not the greatest, influences to reduce the progression of prediabetes.

Successful weight loss can cut diabetes risk in half while also lessening the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

2. Embrace Whole, Nutrient-Dense Foods

Skip out on prepackaged, convenience foods and focus most attention on their whole, natural form, including these foods that will not spike blood sugar

Ultimately, a nutritious diet is balanced with whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, dairy products, and healthy fat sources.

Trusting in a weight loss meal delivery service can also help ensure nutritional needs are being met, all while offering support the entire way!

3. Moderate Sugar Consumption

In prediabetes, sugar begins to build-up in the bloodstream primarily related to insufficient insulin use. Although sugar (or glucose) comes from all carbohydrate sources, consuming excess in the form of added sugars is discouraged.

In fact, the intake of high sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of developing early warning signs of type 2 diabetes. What’s more, a surplus of sugar in the body is transformed into fat, causing weight gain, and raising the risk of insulin resistance.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), men and women should not exceed more than nine (36 grams) and six teaspoons (25 grams) each day, respectively. Astonishingly, a 12-ounce soda contains an average amount of 30 to 40 grams of sugar!

4. Exercise Regularly

Consistent and regular exercise plays a large role in not only weight maintenance, but further assists in more effective blood glucose uptake.

Interestingly, too, a recent research study published in Diabetologia implies consistent moderate-intensity exercise is effective in improving oral glucose despite a weight loss reduction.

The AHA recommends individuals should partake in moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity at 150 minutes weekly, which may include brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing. Also incorporate strength training at least two to three times weekly, focusing focus on the major muscle groups such as back, chest, arms, and legs.

5. Ensure Quality and Adequate Sleep

Catch those Zzz's! Sleep deprivation affects the body in adverse ways, mostly disrupting hormone balance and the ability to efficiently metabolize glucose.

The cultivation of factors puts sleep deprived individuals at risk for weight gain and even type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, even healthy individuals have displayed glucose intolerance, or the ability to effectively breakdown glucose for proper energy use, following poor sleep patterns.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the average adult should obtain seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. So turn off electronics and lights and sleep towards lower blood glucose levels.

6. Schedule Annual Check-Ups

Keep up with regular check-ups. Staying proactive helps surface potential health risks while healthcare professionals can recommend and advice specific preventative measures.

Knowing your health status can stimulate accountability and motivation to keep your body running as optimally as possible.

7. Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle

And lastly, commit to the complete lifestyle track. Reversing prediabetes is not a quick sprint, but a lifelong marathon with common hurdles.

If you may ever trip and fall, dust off the hands and stand back up! Because in both in the short and long run, your body's health will feel as if it crossed the finish line.

Sarah Asay's Photo
Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on August 23, 2017. Updated on October 29, 2020.


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