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A diagnosis of prediabetes may seem scary, however, it can be seen as an opportunity to take control of your health and wellbeing before letting it develop further. Prediabetes is a diagnosis made by your doctor when you have a higher than normal blood sugar level, however not high enough to be diabetes. The CDC highlights that type 2 diabetes affects 1 in 3 Americans, and without the correct treatment, prediabetes could lead to a type 2 diagnosis. Luckily, prediabetes doesn’t have serious symptoms, and the diagnosis can be thought of as a call to action to make some lifestyle changes. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), prediabetes is reversible, but you should start making some changes in your lifestyle and diet to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high.
Prediabetes has no clear symptoms, and they may vary depending on the individual. Due to the lack of symptoms, people can often go for years without realizing it, with over 84% of people with prediabetes not knowing that they have it. The first step to managing prediabetes is understanding what it is.
What causes prediabetes?
Without insulin or when it is not working effectively, the glucose that is produced from the food you eat stays stuck in your bloodstream and accumulates, causing your blood sugar to rise. Prediabetes is an indicator that your body is beginning to stop using insulin as efficiently as it should. It may be becoming more resistant to insulin, and when your body resists it the glucose levels will rise in your blood which may cause the development of prediabetes.
What are some symptoms to watch out for?
Most of the time, adults may not experience any symptoms at all, or they can be so small that you could go years without noticing them. Some of the warning signs may include
Some risk factors and causes of prediabetes
You may be at higher risk of developing prediabetes if you have an unhealthy diet, are overweight, or live a sedentary lifestyle as being inactive contributes to insulin resistance and weight gain. According to the ADA If you have a family history of diabetes, or are over the age of 45 you may also be at a higher risk of prediabetes. If you are a regular smoker, nicotine decreases the sensitivity of your cells to insulin, which may raise your blood glucose levels. Consult your doctor if you believe you may be in the risk category.
Tips to help!
Adopting some healthy lifestyle changes including:
1. Evaluating your food choices
Try maintaining a diet that is rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates. You don’t have to eliminate the foods you love completely but enjoy them in moderation. You may want to make some simple switches such as swapping regular rice for cauliflower rice or “zoodles” with vegetables instead of pasta.
Staying active is a great way to maintain your weight without needing a restrictive diet. When you exercise your body uses more glucose which will help to clear the bloodstream. The American Diabetes Association recommends around 30 minutes 5 times a week.
3. Losing weight
Consult your doctor before making any drastic changes. However, in many cases losing even 5%-10% of your body weight may significantly reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and eliminate prediabetes. Many doctors and nutritionists can help you with a meal plan that is right for you.
If you are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes after being diagnosed with prediabetes your doctor may recommend taking medication that can stop your liver from making glucose when you don’t need it to keep it in a safer range.
It is important to look out for the signs and get regular check-ups with your doctor if you believe you could be at risk of having prediabetes. With proper management and the right lifestyle changes, prediabetes is reversible.
Remember to always seek advice from your medical practitioner before changing anything about your diabetes management. The above information is not medical advice.