10 Surefire Ways to Reduce Risk of Prediabetes and Diabetes
Diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the United States (approximately 9.1% of the total US population) which is an increase of nearly a 15% increase over the past 8 years. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention one in four people with diabetes are unaware they even have it. In addition to the large number of people with the disease, another 86 million adults have prediabetes. It is estimated that of the people with prediabetes, 15% to 30% will likely develop type 2 diabetes within several years. Thus, it is critical to take preventative measures and adjust ones eating habits and physical activity levels to avoid slipping into type 2 diabetes.
There is a need to know and understand what prediabetes is, how can it affect a person and what are the fatal complications that can cause deaths in people diagnosed with prediabetes and diabetes. But more importantly, knowing how to prevent and treat prediabetes will be the best key for survival.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes occurs when a person has a blood glucose (blood sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to qualify for diabetes. Glucose comes from the foods we eat and is regulated by our body regulates it with insulin when glucose levels are high and with glucagon when glucose levels are low. Too much glucose in the body will slowly damage it over time.
To determine if you are at risk you can take a A1C test or another blood test to determine if your blood glucose levels are above normal. For more in-depth reading please visit previous posts by using the following links prediabetes readings and how A1C tests work.
How can prediabetes be treated effectively?
Prediabetes can be treated and can be reversed though diligent monitoring and simple lifestyle adjustments. It is important for people with prediabetes to understand and accept the fact that they are at risk of contracting diabetes unless progress is made to improve their health situation. Acceptance of the condition will help both you and your physician treat the condition more successfully. Cooperation in the treatment is very important because you will have to make material changes to your lifestyle in order to successfully combat the ailment. There are numerous ways to help treat prediabetes, reduce the risk of diabetes and prevent complications. This post will outline ten ways to reduce the risk of prediabetes.
The very first step to take is to set some attainable goals. Here are the steps:
- Setting a goal should start with the ultimate purpose; and that is to treat prediabetes. However, the goal must be something specific and actionable which will hold you accountable along the way. Once the goal is set, then the process of achieving it would be easier.
- Setting both long-term and short-term goals are important. For example, losing at least 10 lbs. and maintaining the new weight is an example of a long-term goal. Planning what actions to take like scheduling activities for weight loss and creating specific meal plans are short-term goals.
- Be prepared for setbacks and challenges. Anticipating such events will help you work through them more effective and keep you on track. Creating a list of the possible barriers and impediments will help as it will allow you to create alternative strategies to achieve your goals.
Effective ways to prevent prediabetes:
- Watch Your Weight – The risk of developing prediabetes is greater if a person is overweight or obese, so it is important to “watch your weight” through proper nutrition and exercise. If a person is overweight, the best way to reduce the risk of prediabetes is to lose five to ten percent of their current body weight. Trying to lose weight can be very challenging, but people who are at risk for prediabetes or diabetes must do it. The best way to start shedding those excess pounds is to reduce caloric intake and increase physical activity. Self-motivation and lots of work is vital to achieve the acceptable weight, but if you are able to find a friend or partner to support you along the journey it will become a much more enjoyable pursuit.
- Eat Nutritious Foods – As mentioned above diet is a critical component to reducing the risk of and preventing prediabetes. Choosing to eat nutritious foods is the first step to making huge changes in the everyday diet. Gradual changes to your diet are more advisable than abrupt changes because it gives the body the chance to adjust to the new foods and reduced caloric intake. Limiting harmful fats and shifting to more fruits and vegetables while also consuming more fiber rich foods is a great formula for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Engage in Sports and Other Physical Activities – In addition to eating well, increased physical activity is critical to maintaining your weight and living a health, diabetes free lifestyle. Playing sports and engaging in other physical activities is one of the best ways to improve activity level and lose weight and reduce the risk of diabetes. During physical activity the body uses up and burns glucose; therefore, the more physically active a person becomes, the more glucose their body utilizes. The reduction in glucose goes a long way toward reducing the risk of prediabetes. Additionally, when glucose has been burned, fats are converted into glucose and are used up as well. As a result, not only will the risk of prediabetes go down, but physical wellness will improve overall. A great way to start getting fit is to try walking or biking every day. Joining a gym or taking fitness classes is another good way to get started. Playing sports such as soccer, basketball, or tennis with family members, kids, or siblings can go a long way as well.
- Reduce Sugar Consumption – Starchy and foods that are packed with sugar are the culprits that predispose a person to prediabetes. So one of the best ways to prevent the increase in the blood glucose levels is by limiting sugary and starchy foods in your everyday diet. There are a lot of excellent alternatives that will still satisfy those cravings. Doctors recommend replacing those sweets with fruits, vegetables, and foods that are made up of complex carbohydrates like brown rice and barley. This will not only help regulate the blood sugar in the body but it will definitely give the body enough energy for the entire day.
- Eat More Fruit but Stay Away from Fruit Juices – Having at least 3 servings a week of fruits likes blueberries, grapefruit, bananas, grapes, apples, and pears will lower the risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes. Two fruits you should avoid include cantaloupe and strawberries. Furthermore, most people have the wrong impression that if the substance they are eating comes from a fruit or vegetable sources, then they are eating healthy. However, most commercially prepared fruit juices and fruit desserts are loaded with sugar and preservatives. These food items are not good for the body especially if a person predisposed to prediabetes given the high sugar count.
- Consume Less Meat – Based on studies, people who eat a plateful of savory and juicy steaks or roast beef are most at risk of developing different types of diseases like diabetes. It is best to remember that protein should be included as part of a well-rounded diet especially when a person is on the prediabetes stage, however portion sizes and frequency of consumption are important to consider. Eating a lot of red meat increases a person’s predisposition to prediabetes by as much as 48%. It is best to keep serving sizes to 4 ounces per meal which is is equivalent to the size of a deck of regular playing cards.
- Vitamins and Food Supplements are Essential – Vitamin and mineral supplements are found to be absolutely effective in preventing prediabetes. When a person has already been diagnosed with such condition, preventing the condition from further progressing into a more life-threatening health disorder is of major importance. There are a variety of great supplements such as EFAs (essential fatty acids like Omega 3), curcumin, vitamin D3, vitamin B6 / pyridoxine, chromium, pycnogenol, silymarin, alpha-lipoic acid, biotin / B7, and vitamin B12. Omega 3 is an all around great supplement for the body but specifically provides benefits to cognitive health as it protects the hippocampus cells from being destroyed. Omega 3 can also help reduce oxidative stress, which plays a central role in the development of diabetes complications. Curcumin is a great anti-inflammatory supplement. Chromium helps boost insulin. Pycnogenol and alpha-lipoic acid are good antioxidants and should be taken regularly. The remaining supplements help with insulin, blood glucose levels and the metabolic process such as carbohydrates inside the body.
- Getting Enough Sleep and Rest – Having enough sleep and rest per day which most medical professionals define as about 7 to 8 hours per day can help regulate a person’s blood sugar within a healthy range. A person who sleeps goes to sleep late, gets up too early or who wakes up frequently during the night is prone to exacerbate any prediabetic conditions. Keeping away from caffeine especially late at night and staying away from alcoholic beverages helps the body develop good sleeping habits. People who get a full night sleep and are well rested are also more likely to eat healthy and enjoy a more physically active lifestyle as they will avoid cravings that occur when tired and will have the energy to get outside, run around or play sports. It is also helpful to keep the bedroom calm and quiet to promote a more conducive environment for rest and sleep. Putting away one’s phone and keeping it away from the nightstand will go a long way to creating a conducive sleep environment.
- Do Not Smoke – If you are currently a smoker quit as soon as possible. Based on various research and studies, there is a 30% to 40% greater risk that smokers develop diabetes compared to nonsmokers. Furthermore, if a person is diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes and he continues to smoke, then the risk of developing complications elevates meaningfully as blood sugar levels become more difficult to control. Heart and kidney disease, poor blood flow in the legs and feet leading to potential infections and ulcers, as well as retinopathy are all risks for diabetic smokers. Stopping smoking immediately will result in material health benefits.
- Be Compliant with Treatment Regimen – Depending on the risks, symptoms and the blood sugar levels a physician may recommend certain medications to help decrease weight and blood glucose levels. It is imperative to stick to the prescribed treatment plan especially if you are experiencing other medical conditions such as hypertension and dyslipidemia (increased cholesterol level in the blood). It is also important to have regular checkups even if you begin to feel better. Remember that taking the prescribed medications as directed will help improve the condition, reduce the risk of diabetes and its fatal complications and ultimately help a person live longer.
Overcoming prediabetes is absolutely possible through hard work and a dedicated commitment. There are a lot of effective ways to alleviate the condition and prevent it from progressing to a more serious and fatal condition. Lifestyle modifications are among the best ways of helping treat this health problem and other ailments. Avoiding vices like cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption that worsens the disease is another step to averting deadly complications because of their impact on the body. Next, eating healthy and engaging in a more active lifestyle helps to regulate blood glucose levels while also improving overall wellbeing. Lastly, compliance with a doctor prescribed treatment regimen is important because prescribed medications and vitamins can help boost the body’s function and prevent the condition from becoming worse. Overcoming prediabetes is best achieved with early detection and treatment as well as regular health check-ups with a physician.