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Prediabetes, or borderline diabetes, occurs when glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to indicate a diabetes diagnosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11 percent of the 79 million Americans with prediabetes go on to develop the full disease. Luckily, efforts to reverse prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Weight: Obese and overweight individuals have a higher risk of prediabetes turning into diabetes because increased weight means increased fat accumulation, leading to insulin resistance.
Inactivity: Inactive behaviors increase with age, so individuals older than 40 are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes. Inactivity minimizes the ways a body can use glucose as energy. Excess glucose damages many of the body’s vital organs and functions.
Gestational Diabetes: A family history of gestational diabetes and/or personal experience with gestational diabetes can lead to the development of prediabetes.
Lifestyle Factors: Smoking, alcoholism, and consuming illegal drugs contribute to the development of depression and anxiety, which are secondary risk factors for prediabetes. Depression, anxiety, and drugs can lead to inactive lifestyles and overeating, all of which contribute to weight gain.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, or if one of these risk factors applies to you, there are three key things to consider when trying to reverse prediabetes:
Exercise: As obesity is one of the greatest predictors of prediabetes becoming diabetes, weight management and exercise are the most important aspects of reversing the effects of prediabetes. Just a 5-10 percent loss of excess body weight helps delay the onset of the disease, according to WebMD.
Moderate aerobic exercise, such as dancing, biking, or swimming for 30 minutes a day, manages weight and prevents prediabetes from progressing. Your body burns excess glucose for fuel during exercise and also improves insulin efficiency.
Nutrition: The best diet for a prediabetic includes a mix of low-fat proteins, vegetables, and whole grains as well as a limited consumption of fats and sugars. Calorie control in the form of appropriate portion size also helps reduce the incidence of obesity.
Lifestyle Changes: Prediabetes also exposes people to a higher risk of developing heart disease. Cutting down on these risk factors will also help prevent the onset of diabetes. Lowering cholesterol levels, quitting smoking, and drinking in moderation will not only lower your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
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