What is Prediabetes?

Aryn Bowser


It is common knowledge that Diabetes is on the rise. The American Diabetes Association states that 36 million people across the country have diabetes and another 96 million have prediabetes. While being diagnosed with diabetes can be life changing, hearing that you are only “prediabetic” should not give you a sense of relief. It should be a call to action to preserve your health.

Prediabetes happens when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes requiring medication. Walking out of your appointment without prescriptions for diabetic medications may feel like a win, but the grey area of prediabetes is a tipping point. You can continue living life as you have and ultimately become diabetic, or you can make a few changes and enjoy good health for years to come.

Since not all factors that contribute to prediabetes can be treated, such as genetic factors and age, lifestyle changes are the primary treatment. These changes include eating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity. Your healthcare provider may recommend avoiding excessive carbohydrates and eating less unhealthy fat, sugar, red meats, and processed starches. Instead, they’ll likely recommend eating a diet of whole foods that includes more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and lean poultry. There are endless resources for diet tips, planning and menus. A few include: www.myplate.gov, www.diabetes.org.

Geting regular amounts of moderate-intensity physical activity helps increase glucose energy usage and improve muscle insulin sensitivity. A single session of moderate-intensity exercise can increase glucose uptake by at least 40%. So, take a walk around the block, play outside with the kids, work up a sweat in the garden, ride your bike, dance in your kitchen, or do anything that gets you moving and keeps you motivated.

Editor's Note

Aryn is the Wellness Coordinator for Woodlawn Hospital.
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