Simply stated, prediabetes is a precursor of diabetes. When you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not at the level to get a diabetes diagnosis.
John Leal, DNP, Tori Leal, BSN, and the experienced team at Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic in San Antonio, Texas, frequently encounter patients who feel alarmed upon learning they have prediabetes.
Don’t press the panic button. You can reverse prediabetes rather than allow it to progress into full-blown diabetes.
Our bodies normally regulate blood sugar levels by producing a hormone called insulin. This hormone helps this blood sugar, also called glucose, to enter your body’s cells.
With prediabetes, however, your cells become resistant to insulin’s actions, so sugar builds up in the bloodstream instead of passing into the cells. Left untreated, prediabetes can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes.
How to reverse prediabetes
Reversing prediabetes requires a concerted effort and a commitment to lifestyle changes such as:
1. Monitor your diet
Cutting down on sugar and refined carbs helps avoid rapid spikes in your blood sugar. Reduce or avoid your consumption of white bread, white rice, and sugary foods and drinks.
Instead, increase your fiber intake to help regulate blood sugar levels. Add more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes to your diet, and choose foods that have a low glycemic index number, such as oatmeal and barley.
2. Engage in regular exercise
Physical activity is vital in reversing prediabetes. Make it your goal to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
This can include walking around the neighborhood or on a treadmill, cycling, swimming, or even dancing. Incorporate strength training exercises at least two days a week. Exercise makes your cells more sensitive to insulin, which ultimately helps lower blood sugar levels.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
If you're overweight, even a small reduction in weight (5-7% of your body weight) can make a significant difference in reversing prediabetes. Keeping up with regular exercise and striving for a balanced diet form the most effective approach.
4. Get enough sleep
People often overlook the importance of getting quality sleep, but failing to do so can disrupt the body's insulin sensitivity, making it harder to control blood sugar levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
5. Monitor blood sugar levels
Regularly checking your blood sugar levels can help you gauge how well you're managing prediabetes. It provides valuable feedback and can help you make informed decisions about your health.
Our experienced team provides information about how often you should test your blood sugar and what to do if the results point to the need for intervention.
In some cases, despite lifestyle changes, medications are required to manage blood sugar levels effectively. Our team prescribes them if necessary.
These lifestyle changes not only help reverse prediabetes but also lead to overall better health and well-being.
Remember, early detection and intervention are key. If you suspect you might be at risk for prediabetes, or if it's been a while since your last checkup, we encourage you to call the office today or request an appointment online anytime.