Five ways to stop prediabetes in its tracks | Features

With the holiday season coming and big meals, sweets and more on the way, Abrazo Health notes it’s a good time to consider our risk for prediabetes.

Prediabetes is a warning sign that blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not quite high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 88 million American adults—1 in 3—have prediabetes. More than 84% of those with prediabetics don’t even know they have it. It’s a serious health condition with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

“There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, which is why the condition often goes undetected,” said Katy Stemple, a registered dietitian and manager of the Abrazo Medical and Surgical Weight Loss program.

Stemple, who specializes in obesity, weight management and surgical weight loss, said, “You may be at risk for prediabetes if you are overweight, are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes and do not exercise regularly.”

A blood sugar test is the best way to determine prediabetes, she noted.

“In the meantime, now is a good time to make lifestyle changes that can delay or even prevent prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and other serious health issues.”

She listed five key ways to prevent prediabetes:

1. Eat healthy. Choose foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Eat fewer refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice and pasta. Instead, focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

2. Stay active with five brisk 30-minute walks or two cardio-intensive exercise classes each week.

3. Weight loss, if you are overweight. Give yourself a goal of 5% to 7% of your body weight (that’s just 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person). Once you’ve reached your goal, maintain and enjoy the health benefits.

4. Stop smoking. Prediabetes is just one of the numerous health risks of smoking.

5. Take medications as needed. If you are at high risk, your doctor can recommend medications that can help control cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“Motivating yourself to make these simple changes in your habits may not be easy at first, but these are basic ways that anyone can be proactive about their health. During the pandemic it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself,” she said.

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