By Diane Hwang
When you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, you may start to feel paranoid. Lots of questions start popping into your mind. Is there a way to prevent prediabetes from escalating into something more serious? Are there ways to reverse prediabetes? What are the ways to treat it? Don’t worry. OKRA Care has all the information you need to understand your prediabetes diagnosis.
Prediabetes, a condition in which your blood sugar is higher than it should be, but not high enough to meet the cut-off for Type 2 diabetes, is serious. Surprisingly, this condition is extremely common — the CDC estimates that prediabetes affects over one in three Americans. If you have prediabetes or any of the risk factors, understanding how prediabetes can be reversed is the best thing you can do.
Causes of Prediabetes
The most common question about this condition (after “what is prediabetes?”) is, “What caused this?” People want to understand what led to their elevated glucose levels so they can take action to prevent things from progressing.
Unfortunately, science has not identified one primary cause for prediabetes, nor have they determined why one person develops high blood sugars while another person may not. Genetics seems to play a major role in prediabetes, as well as a variety of risk factors that include:
- Weight (obesity contributes to prediabetes risk)
- Diet (a diet high in red meat and sugary drinks contributes to prediabetes risk)
- Family history of diabetes
- Previous gestational diabetes or PCOS
- Sleep Apnea
- Race (Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans may be at a greater risk of prediabetes)
Will Prediabetes Lead to Type 2 Diabetes?
Once a person understands what prediabetes is, they may feel discouraged. After all, their body is already struggling to process glucose — is a lifetime of insulin and health complications just around the corner?
Simply put: of course not. While prediabetes can develop into Type 2 diabetes, this is not inevitable. Individuals with prediabetes can get their glucose levels back under control with careful treatment, most of which involves lifestyle changes.
Best Ways to Reverse Prediabetes
The most important thing to know about prediabetes is that it’s an opportunity rather than a life sentence. If you learn how to manage prediabetes now, it could be halted and even reversed. In general, the solutions for reversing are simple: Clean up your diet, get moving each day, and address any issues you might have with sleep apnea or smoking.
The recommended diet for reversing prediabetes includes:
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, coconut, fish)
You’ll want to avoid an excess of red meat and anything that’s refined — refined sugar and refined flour are two of the key culprits for raising blood sugar quickly. In addition to this, you can also treat your condition by increasing your physical activity each week to 150 minutes a week (30 minutes a day, five days a week). You can prevent prediabetes from developing further by losing excess weight (studies show that even losing 5% of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes).
These changes will improve your prediabetes — but they’ll also make you feel better overall, making them a great choice for anyone at risk of prediabetes or other health conditions.