Prediabetes puts a person at the threshold of diabetes, still not a diabetic, but likely to be one over time. Even if you are not diabetic, prediabetes puts you at an increased risk for unfavorable cardiovascular conditions. Prediabetes is a reversible and preventable condition which should essentially be attended to. You may need counseling or treatment to control prediabetes so that the condition does not worsen.
What is the Significance of Preventing Prediabetes ?
According to the National Institutes of Health estimate, 79 million American adults (20 years and above) have prediabetes. A study showed that almost 11% of prediabetics developed type 2 diabetes every year during an average three years of follow-up. In other studies, it was found out that many prediabetics developed type 2 diabetes in 10 years. About 90% of those diagnosed with diabetes are the type 2 diabetics.
Prediabetes is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, ringing an alarming bell before things get out of control. What makes this condition even more upsetting is that you can be living with prediabetes even without knowing it. There may be no distinct symptoms or they may develop so slowly that you may not recognize them. Some people may even have no symptoms. It is best to prevent an illness than treat it later or suffer from it.
Prevention of Prediabetes
If you are at risk for prediebetes, take steps to prevent the disease. These steps can help you even if you are a prediabetic and want to avoid it from turning into type 2 diabetes.
Assess your Weight
You can be at risk for prediabetes if you are overweight. Hence, it is important to keep a watch over your weight. Even if you do not adhere to the exact weight parameter, being close to it can help.
Experts advise that overweight people should try to lose about 5%-10% of the body weight to prevent or at least delay type 2 diabetes. It may not be too easy to lose weight. Begin with the easier weight loss ways like cutting calories and increasing the activity level.
Increase your Activity Level
Be active to facilitate your body to utilize glucose properly. The greater the activity level, the more glucose your body uses for energy. This avoids sugar build up in the blood. Experts recommend at least two and half hours of moderate physical activity every week. This should be accompanied with two or more days of muscle strengthening. Aerobic activity can help in reducing fat stored in muscle (a reason for insulin resistance).
Resistance training may prove highly effective in preventing insulin resistance and helping control blood sugar. Research also suggests that the more intense activity may prove more beneficial in reducing the risk of prediabetes. But even if you cannot increase your activity level to a rigorous level, moderate exercising combined with strength training can help considerably.
Exercising is a good way to remain physically fit. It can also improve insulin resistance. Various studies have elucidated the benefits of exercising in improving blood sugar control and decreasing insulin resistance. When fat loss is accompanied with regular exercising, the results can be even better.
Stick to Healthy Food Choices
Pre-diabetes, which is also known as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), increases your blood glucose levels higher than normal but not enough for establishing diabetes. It is important to be careful when making food choices as they can largely affect your weight. Be gradual in changing food habits to prevent stress on the body.
Start small, for instance, by limiting the amount of fat you eat. Substitute unhealthy foods for the healthy ones like more of fruits vegetables, and fiber instead of processed foods and ‘empty calories’ snacks.
Watch Out for Triggers
Smoking should be stopped to reduce the risk of having type 2 diabetes. Smoking also poses several other health problems; quitting can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Keep a watch over your blood pressure and cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.
More Steps to Prevention
With increased awareness, you can be prepared better to handle prediabetes or the risk for it. “Small Steps, Big Rewards” is a program which can help you make small changes to lifestyle which can aid preventon of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This educational program is a joint effort of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program has a two-hour class to help people at risk for Type 2 diabetes take their first step towards preventing diabetes.
Another program aimed at helping people diagnosed with prediabetes or at risk for same is theYMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. The program can help people develop a healthier lifestyle and (possibly) reduce the risks associated with the condition. This program is research based and focuses on healthy eating habits and physical activity.