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Reversing Pre-diabetes By Changing Your Lifestyle

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 88 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 84% don't know they have it.

What are the causes of Prediabetes?

Prediabetes occurs when the insulin in your body isn't working properly. Insulin helps the cells in your body use the glucose in the blood. When insulin doesn't work properly, too much glucose builds up in the blood.

Signs & Symptoms

You may have pre-diabetes for many years without obvious symptoms, so you usually won't be detected until you have a serious health problem (such as type 2 diabetes). If you have any risk factors for prediabetes, be sure to discuss blood glucose testing with your doctor, including:

  1. Being overweight

  2. Being 45 years or older

  3. Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes

  4. Being physically active less than 3 times a week

  5. Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

The National Cholesterol Education Program ATP III and International Diabetes Federation Guidelines both define a diagnosis for metabolic syndrome as meeting three or more of the following five criteria:

• Abdominal obesity, defined as a waist circumference greater than or equal to 40 inches in males and 35 inches in females.

• Serum triglycerides on your cholesterol panel greater than or equal to 150 or taking medication for elevated triglycerides.

• Serum HDL cholesterol on your cholesterol panel less than 40 in males and less than 50 in females or taking medication to lower HDL cholesterol.

• Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHg or taking medication to treat high blood pressure.

• Fasting blood sugar greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL or taking medication for elevated blood sugars.

The best treatment for prediabetes is when you start changing your lifestyle.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are clear associations between inadequate sleep and adverse health outcomes, such as depression, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Additionally, adults who typically sleep less than seven hours per night have an increased risk of premature death. Children and adolescents have increased sleep requirements and as people age, their sleep requirements decline. Work with your provider on sleep hygiene methods if you are experiencing insomnia.

The impact of stress on illness and weight gain is largely unknown and likely underappreciated. Stress promotes fat storage and increases the risk of insulin resistance and its resultant sequela. In addition, chronic stress often leads to increased food consumption, especially unhealthy foods.

1. Lose 5-7 percent of your body weight

If you are looking to lose a lot of weight, it is daunting to think about the effort it will take to lose all of the weight. Set a goal of 5-7% (about 7 pounds for a 150-pound person) to make weight loss seem more manageable. Losing weight helps reduce inflammation, which is a symptom of insulin resistance.

2. Eat vegetables

Start planning your meal with vegetables and stop until they take up half of the space on your plate. Vegetables are high in fiber, which helps control the levels of glucose in the system. Plus, they're high in vitamins and minerals that can help your body work better. You can choose fresh, frozen, or canned. But be sure to go for the low- or no-sodium kind. Fill half your plate with colorful, nonstarchy vegetables. Examples include carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and leafy greens like spinach or kale.

3. Know your carbs

All carbohydrates are divided into glucose in the blood. So if you're eating carbohydrates in the form of donuts, pasta, or whole bread, everything is broken in glucose for the cells to use. This does not mean that you should eat the cake instead of quinoa because not all carbohydrates have been created equal.

Many studies have shown that a low-carb diet can improve blood sugar control, insulin resistance, and weight. Many people think that 2,170 grams of carbohydrates per day are a low-carb diet, but there is no standard definition. According to this article, lower carbohydrate levels may help people with type 2 diabetes, but most of the data come from short-term studies. While not specifically targeting prediabetes, it can be assumed that the same will be true for people with type 2 diabetes.

4. Talk to your doctor

This may seem easy, but make sure you work with your primary care doctor to control your symptoms. No matter what you do, don't ignore prediabetes. Be active and take responsibility for your health. Change your lifestyle and work with your doctor to control your blood sugar levels. You will feel better and prevent diabetes.

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