Prediabetes: Symptoms To Look For & 3 Lifestyle Changes To Make Immediately

  • General Health
  • diabetes
  • October 13, 2023

Preventing and reversing prediabetes is possible with a few lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and changing diet.

Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Diabetes

An estimated 96 million Americans have prediabetes, yet many are unaware. Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but still not at levels that can be officially classified as type 2 diabetes. Simple lifestyle changes can help reverse prediabetes, so taking the condition seriously and making immediate adjustments to prevent type 2 diabetes is crucial.


Symptoms of prediabetes

Also known as a silent condition, prediabetes does not usually cause symptoms. However, some people may experience fatigue, blurred vision, increased thirst, frequent urination, slow-healing sores or cuts, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. People who experience any of the symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible to get blood levels checked.

Risk factors

Being overweight or obese, being physically inactive, having a family history of diabetes, and having high blood pressure (BP) or high cholesterol are all risk factors for prediabetes. Additionally, people with obstructive sleep apnea, smoking habits, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a higher risk of developing prediabetes.

Diagnosing the condition

Prediabetes is diagnosed through a blood test that measures blood sugar levels after an overnight fast. The most common tests used to diagnose prediabetes are the AIC test, which measures average blood glucose for the past 2-3 months, and the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, which measures blood sugar after fasting for at least 8 hours. The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is another test that measures blood sugar levels 2 hours after drinking a sugary solution. If diagnosed, lifestyle changes can help prevent the progression of the disease.

1. Change your diet

A prediabetic’s diet should be low in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars. Instead, focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A diet rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein can help regulate levels of blood sugar and prevent levels from spiking.

2. Exercise regularly

Consistent physical activity is critical for managing blood sugar levels and preventing type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps the body use insulin more effectively, reducing insulin resistance and improving blood sugar control. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise, such as cycling, swimming, or brisk walking, is recommended each week.

3. Lose weight

For people who are overweight or obese, losing weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Even a modest weight loss of 5-10% can significantly impact blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes that can be maintained in the long term, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Tackling the problem head-on

Prediabetes is a serious condition that requires immediate action to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Individuals with prediabetes or at risk of developing the conditions should make lifestyle changes to prevent permanent damage. With simple steps, people can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve overall health and well-being.

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