Published on November 13, 2020

Prediabetes: Your Opportunity to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

senior couple walking in woods

When was the last time you went to the doctor? An annual checkup is one of the best ways for your physician to check-in on your health. They'll review your medical history, take your blood pressure, assess your weight, and order routine tests and blood work. This is all important to making sure you're healthy and staying on top of any issues that may turn into a more serious health concern down the road.

Some the blood work you may have completed at your doctor's office includes diabetes testing. Diabetes is a serious condition making your blood sugar levels higher than normal. Typically, type 2 diabetes develops over time, but begins as prediabetes. While a diagnosis of prediabetes is frightening, the good news is that you have the opportunity to take control of your health and prevent diabetes from becoming part of your story. The more information you have, the better you can understand this condition and identify ways to overcome it.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where your blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes. Approximately 88 million American Adults have prediabetes and most do not know they have it. It often doesn't have any symptoms, which makes it hard to catch if you don't see your primary care provider for your yearly physical and routine blood work. It's also difficult to know how quickly someone with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes.

The Risks

A diagnosis of prediabetes puts you at higher risk of some health conditions that include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

Fortunately, with prediabetes you don't have to deal with the complications that typically come with diabetes, which include kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage. This is why it's so important to take steps to improve your lifestyle now.

Lifestyle Recommendations

After a diagnosis of prediabetes, you'll want to ensure you make some lifestyle changes to help prevent or delay further progression and other serious health problems.

Move more: You don't have to go to the gym for hours on end. But you do need a regular exercise routine. Remember exercise will make your own insulin work better. It will increase your metabolism and burn more carbohydrates. Start exercising and your goal is to get up to 30 minutes most days. Walking is an excellent exercise; you can do it anywhere and all you need is a good pair of sneakers.

Maintain a healthy diet: A good place to start is by having a plan. Eat three meals a day, using portion control and Maintain a fiber-rich diet. The healthy plate model is easy to follow with ½ your plate should be non-starchy vegetables, ¼ protein and starch. It is also important to cut out all sugary beverages. You may want to consult with a dietitian.

Lose weight: A small amount of weight loss, about 5-7% of your body weight, can reduce your risk of diabetes significantly.

For continued support and resources speak to your doctor about programs within the community that are available to you. At Sturdy, our Diabetes Management Program helps educate patients on ways to control diabetes. The Program teaches people about creating a healthy meal plan, how to increase activity, and how to overcome barriers. While prediabetes is not diabetes, you should talk to your doctor to determine if you'd be a good fit for this program.

Our Diabetes Management Program has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association for Quality Self-Management Education and Support. For more information, please call 508-236-7497.