Being diagnosed with prediabetes may sound scary, but it is not the end of the world. Just because you are at that stage doesn’t mean it will definitely lead to type 2 diabetes. There is still time to halt and even reverse it. It is, however, a wake-up call to initiate some changes in your lifestyle.
Preventing your condition from worsening is not going to be easy. It will take some research and a lot of self-control, but it is not impossible. To address prediabetes, you must first understand what it is.
What Is Prediabetes?
In the United States alone, around 86 million individuals have been diagnosed as prediabetic. This diagnosis means the level of blood sugar is much higher than normal. However, the level isn’t high enough for the condition to be classified as type-2 diabetes. It was often referred to as borderline diabetes in the past.
Our bodies make insulin, this is a hormone that helps control the level of one’s blood sugar. This system no longer works as it should for people with prediabetes. It could be that the body is no longer able to produce insulin after eating meals or it does not respond properly to the insulin that it produces.
It can affect both adults and children. Suffering from this condition makes it more likely for the patient to have a stroke or get heart disease.
Some view being diagnosed with prediabetes as a good thing because at least they know that they can still do something about it. Early detection is key in being able to address this condition. What makes it difficult to detect is it doesn’t have any clear-cut symptoms or signs.
How can you tell if you may be prediabetic? In some cases, the patient noticed skin darkening in the following areas:
However, it is important to note that the darkening may be caused by other medical and non-medical reasons. Sadly, it is easier to tell if you are already diabetic rather than prediabetic.
How do you know if you have already gone beyond prediabetes? Some patients reported feeling one or more of these:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent need to urinate
- Blurred vision
You don’t have to wait for these symptoms to emerge before you consult a doctor. If your family has a history of type 2 diabetes, it is advisable to get a check-up as soon as possible.
If you see a doctor with your concerns about being prediabetic, he or she will ask you to undergo blood glucose screening. The doctor might ask you to take a fasting plasma glucose test. This is a blood test taken after 8 hours of fasting. If your result for this test falls between 100 to 125, you are prediabetic. Anything below is normal, and everything higher means you already have type 2 diabetes.
Another test that you might be asked to take is the oral glucose tolerance test. First, you need to take the fasting glucose test and then you will be asked to drink a sugary solution. After two hours, your blood will be extracted and tested. If your result for this particular test falls between 140 to 199, you are prediabetic.
Finally, you might be asked to take an average blood sugar test which is also known as Hemoglobin A1C. This will show your average blood sugar level over a period of 2 or 3 months. The results may be used by your doctor to see if you are prediabetic or already diabetic.
You Have Prediabetes. What Now?
The good thing about finding out that you have prediabetes is that there is no more guessing game. No more, “Do I have it or not?” You have it, and the only thing to do is to make changes in your life that can help you address your condition. And you know that you have to address it. Because if you don’t, it will certainly lead to type 2 diabetes.
And if you delay your treatments and lifestyle changes, long-term problems associated with type 2 diabetes, such as damage to your kidneys, heart, and blood vessels, may already be beginning. So, what do you do? It all comes down to eating healthier, exercising more, and managing your weight.
How To Reverse Prediabetes Naturally
The good thing about prediabetes is that it doesn’t require medication in order to reverse. You can lower your blood sugar level naturally. Here are some steps that you can follow.
more – Being more active is one of the best ways
to stave off diabetes. It is a natural way to lower blood glucose levels,
improve your overall fitness, help you manage your weight, and improve your
general well-being. But before you jump into any fitness program, you need to
make sure that you get your doctor’s approval first. This is especially true
for people who have been inactive for so long. You might do more harm than good
by forcing yourself to do vigorous exercises. Many experts suggest that 150
minutes of moderately intense activity is the minimum that you should strive
for. You can do the following exercises:
- Power walking
If these are already too much for you, you can still perform physical activities like stretching or taking a flight of stairs instead. Walking around in your living room is another exercise that you can perform in order to improve your fitness level. Once you feel that your body can handle more, you can then incorporate more vigorous activities.
- Lose some excess weight – This may seem like something you should already know but it actually is something very few thinks about. If you are severely overweight, you would be surprised at how little weight you will need to lose in order to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In some cases, a patient only needs to lose 5% of his or her current body weight in order to reduce the chances of getting diabetes by more than 50%. This means that If you weigh 200 pounds now, you only need to get rid of the 10 excess pounds in order to reap the risk-lowering benefits. You can lose weight by, as mentioned before, becoming more active or by reducing your food intake.
enough sleep – Sleep deprivation makes it more
difficult for your body to shed weight so it is crucial that you get enough
sleep. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Lack of sleep can have an
adverse effect on your blood sugar levels, and the blood glucose level can
prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. It is a vicious cycle. And the
worse your sleep deprivation becomes, the closer you get to developing type 2
diabetes. The only thing you can do is to develop better sleeping habits. Here
are some tips:
- Ensure that your bed and pillows are comfortable enough.
- Remove any source of light or noise from the bedroom.
- Ensure that the bedroom is cool and well-ventilated.
- Work on developing a regular bedtime routine.
- Avoid stimulants like coffee after lunch.
- Join a group with the same goals – sticking to a new health routine can be challenging. It can get easier if you were with a group that encourages you and held you accountable for making healthier choices. Running with other people who have prediabetes can be more effective than if you tried to jog alone. Look for a community who aim to lose weight in your area.
smarter food choices – Perhaps the most important
step that you can take to prevent your condition from progressing to type 2
diabetes is to eat healthier. Here are important healthy eating principles that
will help you keep your blood sugar level from going higher:
- Get rid of all sugary drinks – If you are fond of drinking sweet tea or juice, you have to make the sacrifice and give those up. Soda is definitely out. This is something that many individuals overlook. They might monitor the sugar that they consume in food form but forget that there is also sugar in drinks. Sugary drinks are full of empty calories and they tend to make you feel thirstier in the long run, so you end up drinking more of it. If you feel thirsty, stick to good old water.
- Go for smaller portions – Unlike what many believe, losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean starving yourself. You can still eat most of the food that you like but in smaller portions. This is especially applicable to starchy food like potatoes, pasta, and white rice. If you can’t remove high-calorie junk food from your diet, limit it instead. Watch the amount of food that you consume. Remember that even if you are eating healthier (sticking to vegetables and good grains) if you continue to overeat, you will still gain weight.
- Focus on fiber – high-fiber foods are great for maintaining one’s weight. By consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, you stay fuller for a longer period of time. This means you feel less compelled to eat again after a long time. To have a better idea of how much of these high-fiber foods you should have every meal, strive to fill half of your plate with steamed veggies. Go for leafy-greens like broccoli, celery, kale, or spinach. You can actually consume these foods in any form: canned, fresh, or frozen. Just remember to stay away from the ones with added salt.
- Go for the good fats and lean meats – Not all fats are made equal. If you must consume fat, opt for better-for-your-heart choices like nut oils or avocado oil. Olive and other vegetable oils are good too. If you cannot stay away from dairy and dairy products, it is best to stick with the skim or low-fat versions of your milk, cheeses, and yogurt. The same goes for meats. When you are at the meat shop, go for cuts that have “loin” or “round” in their names. These are leaner cuts that the others available. If you want to have some poultry, try to select skinless, white meat whether it is from chicken or turkey. Trim any visible fats from your meats.
- Limit your alcohol intake – If possible, eliminate alcohol from your system. But, if it is something that you absolutely must have, limit it to a maximum of one drink a day.
- Learn the difference between hunger and thirst – People find it hard to distinguish between hunger pangs and thirst. This is the reason why they end up eating more than what their bodies need. Instead of reaching for food, the next time you think you are feeling hungry, drink water instead.
How Long Does It Take To Reverse Prediabetes?
There are studies that show that, with a significant change in sleeping habits, exercising, and modifying one’s diet, the patient’s blood sugar level can go down to normal levels in as short as three weeks. So, if you are asking how long after you have made the changes in your life until you can see and feel the difference in your condition, it should be around that. You won’t have to monitor your blood sugar level as closely as before.
However, If you are asking how long before you can stop eating better or sleeping right? The answer is never. Remember that prediabetes is developed over time. If you go back to eating sugary items and not sleeping enough, you will regain the weight you have lost. Your blood sugar level will go back up and you will be back where you started.
If you want to learn more about how to effectively change your lifestyle in order to prevent prediabetes from turning your life miserable, you might need to read more literature on the topic. A good reference to check out is, “7 Steps to Health: Big Diabetes Lie”. It covers everything that you will need to do in order to reverse the effects of prediabetes on your body the natural way. Here, you will learn what foods to avoid if you are prediabetic and which ones are safe to “munch on all day”. It also explains why certain products like milk, diet soda, artificial sweeteners, and other certain ingredients can make your sugar spike up. It is a good reference to keep if you really want to understand how to eat healthier.
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Make That Commitment To Save Yourself
Maintaining a healthier lifestyle may do more for you than taking medications, in terms of reversing the effects of prediabetes. You just have to make the commitment to be kinder to your body by feeding it with the right kind of food, allowing it to sleep, and pushing it towards a more active state. If you follow the steps that you have learned here today, there is no doubt that you can reverse prediabetes naturally.