Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown, but it is related to insulin resistance. It occurs when your cells stop responding to the hormone insulin.
The pancreas produces insulin, which allows sugar (glucose) to enter cells. When your body doesn’t use insulin properly, sugar can build up in your bloodstream.
Prediabetes doesn’t always cause symptoms, although in some people the skin around the armpits, neck and elbows becomes darker.
A simple blood test can help diagnose prediabetes. This includes the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test. A result between 100 and 125 may indicate prediabetes.
Your doctor may also use the A1C test, which monitors your blood sugar for 3 months. Results between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent may also indicate prediabetes.
However, a diagnosis of prediabetes does not mean that you will develop type 2 diabetes. Some people have successfully reversed prediabetes by making changes to their diet and lifestyle.
One risk factor for prediabetes is a diet high in processed foods, which contain added fat, calories and sugar without any nutritional value. A diet high in red meat also increases your risk.
Eating a “plain and natural” diet consisting of healthy alternatives can help restore normal blood sugar levels. It can reverse prediabetes and help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Incorporate low-fat, low-calorie foods into your diet. they include:
- fruits with complex carbohydrates
- lean meat
- Whole grains
- healthy fats, such as avocados and fish
Lack of physical activity is another risk factor for prediabetes.
Exercise is not only good for energy and mental health, but it can also lower blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity. This allows your body’s cells to use insulin more efficiently.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), exercise can lower blood sugar for up to 24 hours after exercise.
If you’re starting a new exercise routine, start slowly. Do light physical activity for 15-20 minutes, then gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts after a few days.
Ideally, you’ll want to get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week. Exercise may include:
- riding a bicycle
One advantage of a regular exercise routine is that it helps you lose extra weight.
In fact, reducing 5 percent to 10 percent of body fat can improve your blood sugar and help reverse prediabetes. For some people it is around 10 to 20 pounds.
Insulin resistance also increases when your waistline is large. It is 35 inches or more for women and 40 inches or more for men.
Healthy eating and regular exercise routine is the key to lose weight. You can also take other measures. This may include getting a gym membership, working with a personal trainer, or finding an exercise partner, such as a friend or family member.
Also, eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals may help.
Many people know that smoking increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer. However, smoking is also a risk factor for insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes.
You can get help to quit smoking. Use over-the-counter products such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum. Or, ask your doctor about smoking cessation programs or prescription medications to help reduce nicotine cravings.
Even if you’re committed to eating healthy, it’s important to choose your carbs carefully. You may also want to eat less of certain carbohydrates to help reverse pre-diabetes.
Primarily, you’ll want to eat complex carbohydrates, which are unprocessed carbohydrates. they include:
- Whole grains
- the beans
These carbs are high in fiber and keep you full for longer. They also take longer to break down, so they are absorbed into your body more slowly. This helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
Avoid or limit simple carbohydrates, which are quickly absorbed and cause an immediate rise in blood sugar. Simple carbohydrates include:
- some fruit
Refined carbohydrates are also fast acting and should be limited or avoided. they include:
- white rice
- white bread
- pizza table
- breakfast cereal
- Cake and Cookies
Also, you should consider that sleep apnea is associated with insulin resistance.
In this condition, due to the relaxation of the muscles of the throat, breathing stops repeatedly throughout the night.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- snore loudly
- shortness of breath while sleeping
- I suffocate when you sleep
- waking up with a headache
- daytime sleepiness
Treatment usually involves wearing an oral appliance while you sleep to keep your throat open.
You can also use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This keeps the upper airway passage open throughout the night.
Drinking water is another great way to reverse prediabetes and help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Water helps control blood sugar levels, and is also a healthy alternative to soda and fruit juice. Those drinks are usually high in sugar.
Knowing what to eat in prediabetes can be difficult. Even if your doctor makes dietary suggestions, it is helpful to consult with a dietitian nutritionist (NED).
An NED can provide nutritional guidance and advice about which foods should and should not be eaten.
They can help you develop an eating plan specific to your condition and offer other practical strategies for maintaining a healthy diet. The goal is to stabilize your blood sugar level.
Although some people reverse prediabetes with lifestyle changes, this is not enough for everyone.
Your doctor may prescribe medication if your blood sugar levels do not improve and you are at high risk of developing diabetes.
Medications that help lower blood sugar and reverse prediabetes include metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet) or similar drugs. Metformin has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 30 percent. It can also reduce your appetite, which can also help you lose weight.
Prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes. That’s why it’s important to monitor your symptoms and talk to your doctor if you develop early signs of diabetes.
These signs vary from person to person, but may include:
- increased urination
- abnormal appetite
- blurred vision
- increased thirst
A diagnosis of prediabetes does not mean that you will develop type 2 diabetes. But you will need to take quick steps to reverse the situation.
It is important to bring your blood sugar level within a healthy range. You’ll avoid not only type 2 diabetes, but complications related to the condition, such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and more.
Read the article in English.
Spanish translation by Holadoctor.
Spanish edition on July 23, 2022,
Original version written on June 5, 2020.
last medical examination done June 5, 2020,