You’ve just had an appointment with your doctor, who has looked at your lab results and told you that you could be considered “prediabetic.” What does this mean? And what can you do about it? Good news – there are certainly options for you to stay healthy and keep from developing full-blown diabetes. Before we explore ways that you can manage or even reverse your prediabetes, let’s be sure we understand the topic at hand.
Chances are you know someone who is diabetic and who must manage his or her blood sugar levels either through diet, medication, insulin injections, or some combination of these. Diabetes – which is a disease that occurs when levels of sugar in the blood are too high – is very common, affecting nearly 10% of the U.S. adult population. There are different kinds of diabetes, with the most common being Type 1 (characterized by the body not making enough insulin, which is a hormone that shuttles sugar from the blood into cells to be used as energy) and Type 2 (when the body doesn’t use insulin effectively).
Prediabetes is the term given when your blood sugar is too high (for example, measuring 100-125 mg/dL), but not regularly high enough to be considered true diabetes (126 or higher mg/dL). That said, it is still considered a serious health condition, as it commonly progresses from prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes. When this happens, you develop significantly higher risk of several diseases and conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, vision loss, and even amputations.
Prediabetes is even more common than diabetes; 1 out of every 3 adults in the U.S. is living with elevated blood sugar and over 80% of them don’t even know it. There are many risk factors for developing prediabetes, such as being overweight, being 45 years old or older, having a family member who is diabetic, having a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates, being under long-term stress, having a sedentary lifestyle and excess fat around the belly, and others.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to manage prediabetes and prevent it from becoming Type 2 diabetes. The medical approach typically involves the prescription of a medication designed to improve your body’s ability to use insulin. This can be very helpful and effective. However, the best results come from lifestyle and dietary changes whether undertaken by themselves or in combination with medication.
At the top of the list, sensible weight loss – shedding as little as 7% of your total body weight – can be enough to reduce risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%. The best way to achieve this is through increased physical activity and sticking to a healthier diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and complex carbohydrates and as low as possible in sugar, unhealthy fats, refined flour products, and fried foods.
In addition to these powerful lifestyle changes – or if such changes are difficult to make and sustain – another option that can have significant effects is the use of a natural supplement designed to help people maintain healthy blood sugar levels. There are many supplements on the market today that boast the ability to help prediabetics in different ways, typically relying on herbs, vitamins, and minerals to help the body use its insulin more effectively. PreDia® may be able to help you. Learn more.