Recognizing prediabetes symptoms and reducing your risk

diabetes-icons

Have you ever heard anyone talking about prediabetes and began wondering what “prediabetes” means?

You’re not alone.

With prediabetes, there’s good news and not-so-good news. First, the good news: It’s possible to reverse the condition and get yourself back on the healthy track. Now, the not-so-good news: Sometimes, you can’t reverse it.

If you or someone you love has a diagnosis of prediabetes, it’s time to take control.

What is prediabetes?

First, let’s look at diabetes. The main issue for those with the disease is too much glucose in the bloodstream. This is also known as high blood sugar. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but haven’t made it into full-blown diabetes levels yet. Getting your blood sugar under control is where you have your greatest opportunity to improve your health.

A lot of prediabetes seems to be a medical mystery. It doesn’t always have symptoms or a cause. Sometimes you might be extra thirsty, have to urinate a lot or just be fatigued. Others might experience blurred vision. You might even notice the skin on your elbows or arm pits darkening. But other times, there are no symptoms at all.

Diabetes risk factors

While there are some risk factors you can’t change, such as age, family history or race, these are not deciding factors. There are many things you can do to keep yourself healthy and reduce your risk.

  • Eat less red or processed meat
  • Exercise - just walking 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference
  • Maintain a healthy weight - you can decrease your risk by 58 percent if you lose 15 percent of your body weight
  • Watch your waist - people with a larger waist size or an excess of abdominal fat are at higher risk - women should keep it under 35 inches while men should keep their waists under 40 inches
  • Get quality sleep
  • Watch your cholesterol levels and blood pressure - high levels can indicate prediabetes

You can begin by adding more fresh vegetables, fruits and lean proteins into your diet -think chicken, turkey and fish. Remember to cut out the refined sugars (ditch the white bread!) and go for whole-grains, berries and nuts.

Sodas and sugar-filled drinks are also something you should consider moderating or cutting from your diet altogether. Instead, opt for more water - throw a lemon or a slice of fruit in it to dress it up - or tea.

The thing you’re trying most to avoid is having prediabetes turn into type 2 diabetes, which stays with you for life. It’s important to remember that prediabetes doesn’t automatically mean type 2 diabetes is in your future. But it is a wake-up call for a healthier lifestyle.