Can You Reverse Prediabetes?

Can You Reverse Prediabetes?

According to the CDC, more than 29 million Americans struggle with diabetes—a condition that was once inevitably foretold a premature death. Though diabetes is not the death sentence it once was, it can still interfere with your quality of life, undermine heart health, and cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. If your doctor has diagnosed you with pre-diabetes, you do not have to resign yourself to a life of blood testing and insulin injections. Diabetes is not inevitable. The following lifestyle remedies can dramatically reduce your risk, particularly if your condition is due to a long history of unhealthy choices.

1. Change your diet

Some people can spend a lifetime eating sugary candies with nary a side effect. Those who are genetically or otherwise predisposed to diabetes, though, need to watch what they eat. You don't have to give up everything you love. An occasional weekly or monthly indulgence will not tip the scales into diabetes. If you gorge yourself on sugar—and that includes white breads and pastas—it's time to cut back. A handful of other foods can further assist by helping your body regulate its glucose levels. Those foods include:

  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Vegetables in any form, including cooked or roasted
  • High-fiber whole grains
  • Berries and melons
  • Healthy fats, such as is found in avocados

2. Become more active

A sedentary lifestyle is a significant predictor of diabetes. It can also cause you to begin accumulating excess fat along your abdomen, another significant diabetes risk factor. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of more intense exercise. This is a minimum threshold, and if you can get even more—even if it's just in 10 minute bursts—your risk of diabetes will plummet

3. Lose weight

A healthy diet and lots of exercise might not be enough to stave off diabetes. If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 25, you may need to lose weight. Every person and every body is different, though, so talk to your doctor before embarking on a weight-loss plan.

4. Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol kills brain cells, is high in sugar, and is laden with empty calories. Quit drinking now, particularly if you have a drinking problem.

5. Ask about medication

Some people have a high genetic risk for diabetes. If you have made healthy lifestyle changes but your blood glucose readings are still too high, talk to your doctor about medication. Drugs such as Metformin may help you avoid diabetes. They are not without side effects, so carefully weigh the relative risks and benefits, and focus on leading a healthy life before you turn to a pill.