Prediabetes, or elevated blood sugar, significantly increases your risk of developing full-fledged Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes also increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, so it’s important that you take measures to keep it under control.
An estimated 84 million Americans have prediabetes, and about 90 percent of those who have it don’t know they have it. That’s startling, considering the potential consequences of untreated prediabetes.
But there is good news: Prediabetes is a reversible condition.
If you have prediabetes, there’s no need to let it progress to Type 2 diabetes. Here are seven tips for managing prediabetes from our experts at Wasatch Family Practice.
1. Get tested regularly.
You know the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, that goes for diseases, too. If you don’t know what your numbers are — meaning, your A1C, fasting blood sugar, and oral glucose tolerance — you can’t know if you’re headed in the right or wrong direction.
Getting tested regularly will help you stay on top of prediabetes and make sure it doesn’t progress. Your specialist at Wasatch Peak Family Practice will help you understand the numbers from your tests.
2. Study up on the symptoms.
In the same vein as the first tip, knowing what’s going on with your body is critical to keeping prediabetes from turning into full-blown diabetes. Symptoms of prediabetes include:
- Feeling hungrier than usual
- Weight loss, despite higher caloric intake
- Unusually strong thirst or feeling dehydrated
- Frequent trips to the bathroom
- Fatigue and sluggishness
If you experience any of the above, check-in with your doctor at Wasatch Peak Family Practice as soon as possible.
3. “Health-ify” your diet.
You know the drill: more vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber; less sugar and refined carbs. If it helps, think of this as an opportunity to add fun foods into your diet, not as being sentenced to take foods out of your diet.
For example, consider a juicy filet of baked salmon with a side of crispy asparagus coated in olive oil alongside mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon. You don’t have to eat that — you get to eat it. See the difference a shift if mindset can make?
4. Get your steps in.
If you have prediabetes, too much sedentary time can increase your risk for full-blown diabetes.
Regular exercise, even something as simple and easy as walking for 30 minutes each day, can help you manage your weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure, not to mention give you increased energy, a better mood, and better sleep.
The key to keeping up with a regular exercise schedule is finding a type of exercise you love. Try out different group classes or enlist the help of a personal trainer who can help you experiment with different forms of exercise.
5. Lose excess weight.
For the most part, taking control of your diet and exercise regimen will help you lose weight naturally. This is important because extra fat cells can affect how your body responds to insulin, which influences your risk for diabetes. In fact, losing just 5-10% of your body weight can significantly decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
6. Reduce stress levels.
Chronic stress does all sorts of wacky things to your body, even if you don’t know it. How does this affect your risk for diabetes?
Well, chronic stress inhibits your immune system, which could potentially alter the way your body produces and responds to insulin. Additionally, stress may trigger cravings and appetite, which can lead to eating sugar and refined foods that aren’t good for controlling prediabetes.
To tame stress, try activities like yoga (also a good form of exercise), meditation, journaling, and spending time enjoying nature.
7. Take your medications, if necessary.
In many cases, following the six tips above is enough to control prediabetes and keep it from transitioning into Type 2 diabetes.
But sometimes, particularly for patients with other medical conditions, doctors will prescribe medications to help keep blood sugar under control. Your provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice will tell you if you’re a good candidate for prescription medication.
If you have prediabetes or think you may have prediabetes, call Wasatch Peak Family Practice right away or request an appointment online. Our diabetes specialists can help you understand prediabetes, including your risk for Type 2 diabetes and how you can keep it under control.