How to Prevent Prediabetes From Becoming Type 2 Diabetes

Getting diagnosed with prediabetes can be scary. After all, prediabetes is an indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes, increasing your risk of heart disease or a stroke if you don’t make some serious lifestyle changes. But If your doctor or healthcare practitioner tells you that you have prediabetes, you should actually consider yourself lucky.

Here’s Why: Prediabetes is actually affecting a TON of people. 86 million people living in America today are prediabetic, but only a chilling 11% of people who have prediabetes actually know it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And research has shown about 70% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes over time.  Now that’s scary. But- don’t freak out.

There’s good news. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), prediabetes can be reversible if you focus on losing weight, make time for routine physical activity, and exercise nutritional control.

DIAGNOSING PREDIABETES: HIGH BLOOD SUGAR, BUT NOT TOO HIGH.

Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes, which usually expresses itself in middle age.

“Prediabetes is a precursor stage before type two diabetes in which not all of the symptoms to diagnose diabetes are present, but blood sugar is abnormally high.”According to Chief Medical Officer and founder of saludmovil.com Dr. Joseph  Mosquera.

Normal vs. Higher than Normal Blood Sugar Levels:

“It can be recognized by when fasting blood sugar level (blood glucose) is consistently in the range of being higher than 100 but no greater than 126.Its routinely high, but it’s not high enough to be considered diabetes mellitus.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal blood sugar are 70–99 mg/dl. If you were to take a blood sugar test two hours after a meal and are not diabetic, For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. If your blood sugar is measured two hours after meal and you are not diabetic, the reading should be less than 140 mg/dl, according to the American diabetes Association (ADA).

With prediabetes, your blood sugar is high because usually because you don’t have enough insulin.

And your blood sugar is high because you don’t have enough insulin.

WHAT EXACTLY CAUSES PREDIABETES?

Prediabetes develops when your body begins to have trouble using the hormone insulin.

“Insulin is necessary to transport glucose. Glucose is what your body uses for energy, and this travels to cells via the bloodstream. In pre-diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it well-aka insulin resistance.”Says Dr.Mosquera.

A consistently high blood sugar over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“In my opinion, the biggest driver of diabetes and prediabetes in the US is obesity. And now because of child obesity, we are seeing Prediabetes and type-2 diabetes at much earlier ages. I’ve seen it in 17 and 19 year olds.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

3 WAYS TO PREVENT PREDIABETES FROM BECOMING TYPE-TWO DIABETES

The American Diabetes Association says that serious lifestyle changes are effective in preventing type 2 diabetes after you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes. You should talk with your doctor about what you specifically should focus on, but Dr. Mosquera has 4 strategies he recommends prediabetics focus on:

LOSE WEIGHT:

If you’re overweight, you should get started on a weight loss management as soon as you’re diagnosed with prediabetes.

“The number one thing for combating prediabetes is do not gain weight, and if you are overweight you need to work towards getting down to your ideal weight.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body weight relative to height. The BMI chart can help you find out whether you are normal weight, overweight, or obese. You can take a look here.

“In addition to weight, the location of excess fat on the body is important. For example a waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women is linked to insulin resistance and increases a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, so  it may be good to focus on losing belly fat.” Notes Dr.Mosquera.

Losing just 5 to 10% of your weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The combination of eating well and exercising more is a great way to lose lbs and then maintain a healthy weight.

PRACTICE NUTRITIONAL CONTROL:

“The average american has gone from consuming 2200 calories a day in the 1980’s to devouring 3500 calories a day. The fact we are taking in over 50% more calories than 30 years ago shows the cases are largely created by obesity. We overall just need to be eating less, and fewer empty calories.” Believes Dr.Mosquera.

A primary care doctor, registered dietitian (RD) or certified diabetes educator (CDE) can help you create a meal plan good-for-your-blood-glucose-level food.

The goal of having a set meal plan is to control your blood glucose level and keep it in a consistently healthy, normal range.

“Your meal plan should be made just for you, taking into account your overall health, physical activity, and what you like to eat. It’s important to have one on one time with a healthcare professional so it is personalized.” Notes Dr.Mosquera.

EXERCISE:

When you exercise, your body uses more glucose, so exercising can lower your blood glucose level.

Also when you exercise, your body doesn’t need as much insulin to transport the glucose so naturally your body becomes less insulin resistant.

“Since your body isn’t using insulin well when you have prediabetes, a lower insulin resistance is a very, very good thing.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, which is around 30 minutes 5 days of the week.

“Focus on getting in exercise in every other day of the week for about 30-40 minutes. You want to do physical activity that are aerobic such as brisk walking, bike riding, or swimming. New Research has shown it’s also especially beneficial to walk for ten minutes after a big meal.” Says Dr.Mosquera

Wonder what will probably happen if you are prediabetic and makes no changes?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 2 diabetes can develop within 10 years if you have prediabetes and don’t make lifestyle changes.

Discussing Medication options with your doctor:

“Many people with type 2 diabetes are on some form of medication which helps them control blood sugar levels, but using medication for prediabetes should be done with extreme caution and discussed with a physician.” says Dr.Mosquera.

But for people who have an especially very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes after being diagnosed with prediabetes due to lifestyle, genetics, and other factors, the doctor may sensibly recommend a medication.

The American Diabetes Association says that metformin should be the only medication used to prevent type 2. It works by keeping the liver from making more glucose when you don’t need it, thereby keeping your blood glucose level in a better range.

OTHER SYMPTOMS OF PREDIABETES

According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms for prediabetes besides a consistent fasting blood sugar of 100-126 include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

ROUTINELY CHECK YOUR FASTING BLOOD SUGAR TO AVOID PREDIABETES:

“The best way to combat prediabetes is to routinely check your fasting blood sugar levels.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

“You can go to one of the many thousand minic-clinics run by the big pharmacy chains such as CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart- walk in, and get your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure taken for all under $100 without any previous planning or appointment.”

You can also buy an effective $10-$200 device at a pharmacy or online to routinely check fasting blood sugar levels at home.

“Once the diagnosis of prediabetes is determined, I can confidently say I get most of my patients to stay under control using the 3 tactics I’ve mentioned. If you want to successfully rid yourself of prediabetes, just keep in mind it requires cooperation between patient and doctor. They must work together to implement an individualized plan.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

THINK YOU MAY BE PREDIABETIC?

Think you could be prediabetic? Dr. Mosquera recommends making a point of getting your blood sugar checked THIS week.

You may also find it helpful to take the CDC quiz provided online to find out if you are at risk. Click here- and then click on the widget on the right hand side of the page and answer the seven questions to get a prediabetes score.

Questions, Comments, or Concerns? Email [email protected]