When you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, you might think why you have to take action just yet. Or you might assume that you’re definitely developing diabetes later. The good news: it is possible to prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. That means there’s still time to turn things around if you make lifestyle changes now.
The goal is to get your blood glucose level out of the prediabetes range, and keep it at the normal one.
The little things you do every day can make a difference. Lifestyle changes are simple but even more powerful than just taking medication.
According to a large research study called the Diabetes Prevention Program: People with prediabetes who lost a small amount of weight through diet and exercise can decrease the chances of developing diabetes by as much as 58%, compared to 31% for people who only took the prescription drug metformin.
- Lose extra weight
If you’re overweight, you are recommended to get started on a weight loss program to turn the odds in your favor. Research indicates that losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight is often enough to bring blood sugar levels back to normal and stop prediabetes in its track.
To achieve your objective, shrink portion sizes; cut calories; and reduce the intake of foods that are high in fat (especially saturated fat), sugar, and carbohydrates. You should also follow a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat.
- Frequently get exercise
When you make exercise, your body has to use more glucose that means your blood sugar level is decreased. Also when you get exercise, your body doesn’t require as much insulin to transport the glucose to your cells; your body becomes less insulin resistant. Since your body isn’t using insulin in an appropriate way when you are living with prediabetes, a lower insulin resistance is a very good thing.
Get moderate exercise (something that raises your heart rate, like cycling, brisk walking, or swimming.) for 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week (150 minutes per week). Furthermore, do some strength-training exercise, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, which helps your body respond better to insulin, at least twice a week.
- Do not smoke
Smoking is associated with diabetes: smokers are 30 to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. And people with diabetes who continue smoking are more likely to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their condition. So the sooner you quit smoking, the better.
When You Need Medication
If you are at a very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes after being diagnosed with prediabetes, you may be recommended to take a medication.
Your doctor may prescribe metformin when you have certain risk factors, such as having low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high triglycerides (a type of blood fat), a parent or sibling with diabetes, or being overweight. Metformin works by keeping the liver from making more glucose when you don’t need it, thereby your blood glucose level will be kept in a better range.