How to Prevent Prediabetes from Turning into Full-blown Diabetes

Chances are you already know that diabetes is among the most common chronic illnesses in our country and increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other severe health problems. 

But did you know that up to nine in ten diabetes cases are preventable? It’s true: Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for some 95% of all diabetes diagnoses, can often be prevented through some fundamental lifestyle changes. 

Like many of the 28 million Americans who already have type 2 diabetes know, the opportunity for prevention starts to shrink quickly once your blood sugar reaches prediabetic levels. 

Although being diagnosed with prediabetes may be alarming, it can also be empowering. Instead of looking at your condition as a forgone transition to type 2 diabetes, consider it your essential and last chance to restore your blood sugar to healthy levels.  At Medical Associates of North Texas, our doctors are experts in preventing and managing diabetes. They offer the following advice to help you get started. 

Prediabetes 101

Prediabetes, the primary precursor stage for type 2 diabetes, is widespread, affecting 84 million Americans, or more than one in three adults. If this statistic isn’t troubling enough, add to it the startling reality that 90% of those who have prediabetes don’t know it. 

Type 1 diabetes usually emerges during childhood. It occurs when your pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that helps dietary sugars enter your body cells and convert them into energy. This type of diabetes has no precursor stage and can’t be prevented. 

Type 2 diabetes, which is by far more common, however, is largely preventable. Typically, type 2 diabetes develops when your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with demand or when your cells become insulin resistant, which means they no longer respond efficiently or adequately to insulin. 

A prediabetes diabetes diagnosis means that your blood sugar levels are higher than what’s healthy but not yet elevated enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Taking action to reverse prediabetes

Fortunately, most of the time, prediabetes can be reversed through targeted lifestyle changes. The following health improvements can help you prevent full-blown diabetes or delay its onset:  

Lose weight

If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can improve your blood sugar levels. 

You needn’t attain your ideal body weight to reap substantial benefits. Dropping just 5% of your body weight may be enough to reverse your condition.   

Get active

Your body is made to move, and most of us feel better when we do. In addition, regular exercise is a crucial way to improve a wide array of health issues, including prediabetes. 

Start with taking a brisk 10-minute walk following every meal. Then, work up to  30 minutes of exercise per day.

Eat healthily

A healthy diet means plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. Also essential: limit or eliminate highly processed foods containing trans fats and excessive added sugars. 

Watch what you drink as well. Choose water (plain or sparkling) or unsweetened beverages such as plain tea or coffee. Avoid alcohol, sports and energy drinks, fruit juice, and soda.       

Protect your health long-term

Don’t let a prediabetes diagnosis consume you with fear. Rather, consider it a valuable wake-up call. If you’re ready to learn more about prediabetes and how to reverse it, book a consultation at Medical Associates of North Texas. Contact us online or call the office at 972-695-8053.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Living with Emphysema

Emphysema is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. There’s no cure, but actively managing it can help you live better and breathe easier. Find expert care and tips for living with emphysema here.

When Does a Cut Need Stitches?

When you find yourself with a cut or laceration, it’s important to know what to do next. Minor cuts may not require professional care, but more serious injuries may need stitches. Learn when your cut needs the attention of a medical pro.

Why Hormone Imbalance Can Make It Hard to Lose Weight

Are you struggling to lose weight, even when you eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise? A hormonal imbalance could be to blame. Learn how hormones affect your body weight and what you can do to break the cycle and achieve a healthier you.

Foot Problems Associated with Diabetes

Diabetes is linked to chronic health issues like heart disease and obesity — but did you know it can also cause painful foot problems that limit your mobility? Learn the most common diabetes-related foot issues and how to protect your feet.

Why Consult with a Registered Dietitian?

A registered dietitian can help you sort through misinformation and provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice. They can help you learn how to read labels at the supermarket; discover that healthy cooking is inexpensive; and learn how to eat out..