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Prevail Over Prediabetes
PreventionHealth & Wellness

Prevail Over Prediabetes

October 28, 2021

Prediabetes is not something to be taken lightly: It’s a sign that your body has developed insulin resistance. As a result, glucose in your blood—also known as blood sugar—is too high, though not yet high enough for you to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells use glucose, the body’s main energy source. When your cells become resistant to insulin, they can’t absorb glucose as well as they should and excess glucose begins to build up in the blood. At some point, your body will not be able to make enough insulin to keep glucose levels in check, which is when symptoms of Type 2 diabetes begin to appear.

Prediabetes does not go away on its own. Without treatment, you have about a 50 percent chance of developing full-blown diabetes in the next few years. Fortunately, making healthy changes now mean that reversing diabetes or preventing it from progressing may be possible.

Who Gets Prediabetes?

Prediabetes can affect anyone at any age. Right now, approximately 88 million American adults—about 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and more than 80 percent of those are unaware they have it.

Some people are more likely to get prediabetes than others. Your risk is higher if you are:

  • Age 45 or older
  • Overweight
  • Physically inactive

You are also at increased risk for prediabetes if you have a close family member with Type 2 diabetes, had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or gave birth to a baby that weighed over nine pounds.

Why Preventing Diabetes Is Important

Diabetes is a serious condition that requires constant monitoring to manage blood sugar levels. Not doing so can have potentially life-threatening consequences. Even with treatment, Type 2 diabetes can lead to long-term complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage and vision loss.

Plan to Reverse Prediabetes

Image of scale with tape measure.

There is plenty you can do to reverse prediabetes. Altru offers a Diabetes Prevention Program to help you get started. Elements of the plan include:

  • Managing weight. A Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) research study found that even a modest weight loss of five to seven percent of current weight can help turn prediabetes around. For someone who weighs 200 pounds, that’s a loss of 10 to 14 pounds.
  • Healthy eating habits. The best diet to overcome prediabetes does not have to be overly complicated. Eating less saturated fat and sugar, and more colorful, non-starchy vegetables is a good starting point. If you want to manage weight, also pay attention to portion sizes and calorie content. Looking for more ideas? Check out MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nutrition resources, grocery shopping tips and healthy recipes.
  • Physical activity. Controlling blood glucose levels and preventing or delaying diabetes is just one of the many health benefits of regular exercise, according to the American Diabetes Association. Working out with others makes exercise more enjoyable and helps you stay motivated.

To find out if you could have prediabetes, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

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