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If I Have Prediabetes Can I Avoid Developing Diabetes

Prediabetes: How to Reduce the Risks of Developing Diabetes

If you have prediabetes, the best way to avoid developing type 2 diabetes is by making changes in your lifestyle.

  • Lose weight. If you are overweight, losing just 7 percent of your starting weight can help delay or prevent diabetes. That means if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 14 pounds can make a difference. Weight loss also helps lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is an important part of diabetes prevention. Your exercise routine should include 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times a week. This could include brisk walking, riding a bike, or swimming. Ask your doctor what exercise level is safe for you.
  • Follow a healthy diet. Eat foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins such as fish or chicken, and low-fat dairy. Dont eat a lot of processed, fried, or sugary foods. Eat smaller portions to reduce the number of calories you take in each day. Drink water instead of sweetened drinks.

Your doctor might refer you to a dietitian or diabetes educator to help you change your eating and exercise habits.

Some people take medicine to help prevent or delay diabetes. Ask your doctor if this is a good option for you.

Why Is Diabetes So Harmful

The first thing I learned was the scary stuff: Untreated diabetes can result in stroke, kidney disease, and loss of vision along with at least eight different skin conditions, most of which involve itching. About half of diabetics will suffer from neuropathy, nerve damage that begins with tingling at the extremities and can progress to conditions that require amputation, as my great-grandmother came to know far too well.

Then I looked into why certain foods are a problem: The human body breaks down carbohydrates, including beans, corn, and oats as well as my friends pasta and sugarinto glucose, which enters the bloodstream. The pancreas creates the hormone insulin, which escorts glucose to the heart, brain, muscles, and tissues, where its burned as fuel. But for me, along with 88 million other American adults on the prediabetes-to-diabetes spectrum, the pancreas cant keep up, and it doesnt produce enough insulin. As a result, unchaperoned glucose is free to wreak havoc in the bloodstream.

Theres a catch, though: The standard lifestyle advice doesnt work for everyone. In her 20s, Dr. Tan was surprised to find that she herself was prediabetic despite walking 20,000 steps a day and watching her carbohydrate intake. Apparently her family history was too much to overcome. Sometimes, despite their best efforts, people cant fully reverse abnormal numbers, Dr. Tan says. Could I reverse mine?

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • If I have prediabetes, will I get diabetes?
  • What is the best step I can take to avoid getting diabetes?
  • My father has diabetes. Should I be screened for prediabetes on a regular basis?
  • I have diabetes. Should I have my children screened for prediabetes?
  • I had gestational diabetes. Should I be screened for prediabetes regularly?
  • Are there any foods I should eat that will help me to avoid prediabetes?
  • Should I speak with a dietitian about changing what I eat?

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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, usually occurs when the body cannot use insulin properly or has extremely low levels of insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for moving glucose, or sugar, into the bloodstream where it can then be delivered to cells and used for energy. High blood sugar is usually associated with diabetes.

Symptoms of high blood sugar may include:

  • Frequent urination

Patients can have symptoms of headache and dizziness with high blood pressure, but patients can also be completely asymptomatic, adds Dr. Raja.

Read Also: How To Reduce High Sugar Level Immediately

Children And Prediabetes Testing

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Doctors diagnose prediabetes based on the same blood sugar levels, no matter the personâs age. The American Diabetes Association says children 10 and older should be tested if theyâre overweight or obese and have:

  • A family member with type 2 diabetes
  • A mother who had gestational diabetes while pregnant with the child
  • Native American, Black, Hispanic, Asian American, or Pacific Islander heritage
  • Signs of insulin resistance or conditions linked to it, such as a low birth weight, high blood pressure, or polycystic ovary syndrome

If a child who has a high chance of getting prediabetes has normal test results, the American Diabetes Association advises testing them again at least every 3 years.

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What Is Blood Sugar

Blood sugar is sugar that is in your bloodstream. The specific type of sugar in your blood is called “glucose,” and “blood sugar” is the same as “blood glucose.” You need sugar in your blood because many of the cells in your body use it for fuel, or energy. It is normal and healthy to have some blood sugar, but too much is considered prediabetic.

So how does sugar get into your bloodstream? One way is after you eat a meal with carbohydrates. Another way is from your liver: if your blood sugar dips too low because you have not eaten for a while or for another reason, such as exercising, your liver will sense the lower levels and release stored sugar into your bloodstream. The goal is to keep your levels neither too high, nor too low, at all times.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Ranges

2 Hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose Indication
Less than 140, or 7.8 mmol/L Normal glucose tolerance, not diabetic
From 140 to 200 mg/dL, or 7.8 to 11.1 mmol/L Impaired glucose tolerance , or Pre-diabetes
Over 200 mg/dL, or 11.1 or higher on more than one occasion Type 2 Diabetes

Both IFG and impaired glucose tolerance indicate pre-diabetes and are associated with an increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes including weight loss and an exercise program, as well as possible oral medications are sometimes indicated.

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but pre-diabetes can often be completely reversed with proper medical intervention and changes in lifestyle.

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Prediabetes And The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

“Your first question might be does this mean I have type 2 diabetes?, does this mean Ill definitely get type 2 diabetes? or even does this mean Im in the clear? The answer to all of these is no. You dont have type 2 diabetes at the moment, but you do need to act now if you want to try and avoid it.”

Simon ONeill, Diabetes UKs Director of Healthcare and Professional Liaison

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Prediabetes Blood Sugar Levels

The OGTT is a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a special sweet drink. It tells the doctor how your body processes sugar.

  • Diabetes is diagnosed at two-hour blood glucose of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

200 mg/dl or higher

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Hca And Heart Medication And Diabetes Medications

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The Surprising Truth About Prediabetes

Its real. Its common. And most importantly, its reversible. You can prevent or delay prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes.

Amazing but true: about 96 million American adults1 in 3have prediabetes. Whats more, more than 8 in 10 of people with prediabetes dont know they have it. Could this be you? Read on to find out the facts and what you can do to stay healthy.

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Prediabetes Flies Under The Radar

You can have prediabetes for years without symptoms. This means you likely wont know you have prediabetes until serious health problems show up. Talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any of the risk factors for prediabetes, including:

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

Race and ethnicity are also a factor. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.

Ready to find out your risk? Take the 1-minute prediabetes risk test and be sure to share the results with your doctor.

What Can Make Blood Sugar Go Down

What is Prediabetes?

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Referral For Help And Support

The NHS in England has developed the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme for people with pre-diabetes. This provides personalised support from a group of healthcare professionals.

If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes and live in England, you should be offered referral to this service. It involves at least 13 sessions over about 9 months, each lasting 1-2 hours. You will be supported to set and achieve goals and make positive changes to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Most of the sessions will be run as face-to-face groups with other people who also have pre-diabetes and led by one or more experts.

Prediabetes Screening In A Dental Setting


The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends adults who are overweight/obese and aged 40â70 years old to get screened during visits to their regular physician. The American Diabetes Association recommends normal testing repeated every three years and recommends a larger range of people get tested: anyone over the age of 45 regardless of risk an adult of any age who is obese or overweight and has one or more risk factors, which includes hypertension, a first degree relative with diabetes, a physical inactivity, high risk race/ethnicity, Asian Americans with BMI of â¥23 kg/m2, HDL < 35 mg/dL or TG > 250 mg/dL, women who have delivered child > 9 lbs or with gestational diabetes, A1c ⥠5.7%, impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance .

Early Detection and Management

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Eat A Healthy And Balanced Diet

Theres no one special diet for all people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Everyone is individual, so there isnt a one size fits all way of eating for everyone. But, the food and drink we have in our overall diet is linked to our risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For example, if your overall diet is made up of food and drinks that are in high fat, have a high GI and low fibre content, this is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. But the good news is that by changing some of your food and drink choices, you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

But what is a healthy and balanced diet anyway? All of these ways of eating have been linked with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes:

  • the Nordic diet
  • moderately cutting down on carbohydrates.

This is because they are made up of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and lean proteins and its the overall balance of our diet that is important in keeping us healthy.

So, to reduce your risk, aim to eat more of the foods linked with a decreased risk. Research has shown us that the following foods and drinks can be associated with a decreased risk

  • total fruit and veg intake
  • yogurt and cheese
  • unsweetened tea and coffee

Additionally, there are some foods we recommend reducing your intake of, as these have been associated with an increased risk. These foods include:

  • sugar sweetened drinks
  • refined carbohydrates

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

How to STOP Prediabetes Going Into Diabetes

A second blood test used to diagnose prediabetes is a fasting plasma glucose test. This is normally the first test healthcare providers use because it renders immediate results. A blood sample is taken after you fast for at least eight hours or overnight. The interpretation includes:

  • A fasting plasma glucose level below 100 milligrams per deciliter is considered normal.
  • A fasting plasma glucose level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes. This result is sometimes called impaired fasting glucose.
  • A fasting plasma glucose level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.

An oral glucose tolerance test or a random blood sugar test are also sometimes, but less commonly, used to diagnose prediabetes.

Certain medications can affect your blood sugar levels. Before your test, tell your healthcare provider all the medications that youre using, including herbal, prescription, and over-the-counter medications.

Recommended Reading: What To Eat When Your Blood Sugar Is High

Carbs To Lower Blood Sugar In Prediabetes

Regardless of the total number of prediabetes carbs per day that you have, you will get better results if you choose healthier sources and stay aware of portion sizes. Look for high-fiber, high-nutrient sources, and know that a serving size may be smaller than you think!

Healthy Carbs for Prediabetes

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What Is Your Fasting Blood Sugar

Simply put, your fasting blood sugar is your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast. Since its been typically has been more than 8 hours since your last meal, the fasting blood sugar indicates how your body has managed its blood sugar levels when variables like food are not present.

The First Step: A New Grocery List

Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c or A1c) Calculator

Changing eating patterns is critical for reversing the progression of diabetes, but theres not a one-size-fits-all diet, Dr. Kalyani says.

Friends who had successfully managed a prediabetes diagnosis raved about high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets, and a study published this year seems to back up such anecdotal evidence: It found that this way of eating was associated with reduced blood sugar levels and greater weight loss. I stripped almost all carbohydrates from my dieta sugar addict going cold turkey . I was tired, thirsty, and agitated. But to my genuine amazement, after four days, the cravings ceased. I looked at my teen sons peanut-butter-and-extra-jelly sandwich and did not want one for myself.

Other patients succeed with a fat- and protein-heavy keto or Atkins diet, Dr. Tan says, or sometimes intermittent fasting or a vegan diet. Celeste Thomas, M.D., a diabetes specialist and an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, likes the Mediterranean diet, which includes generous portions of fruits and vegetables, beans, and olive oil along with moderate portions of fish, chicken, and cheese.

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