A prediabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’re completely doomed to go on to develop diabetes. There are steps you can take to reduce the chances of developing diabetes and improve your health. More than 30 million adults have diabetes, and another 96 million have prediabetes. The good news is that specific diet and lifestyle changes are shown to prevent prediabetes from turning into diabetes.
Working closely with an experienced health care provider is key to maintaining health and preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes. Sam Morayati, MD, of Burlington Medical Center specializes in endocrinology and internal medicine, and provides a full range of care to adults in the Burlington, North Carolina, area.
Here are five steps you can take to protect your health and prevent diabetes.
Know your numbers
Knowing your numbers is the first step to preventing diabetes. Many people with prediabetes are completely unaware of it. See Dr. Morayati to have your blood glucose tested. The A1C test, which measures your average glucose over the previous 90 days, is the most common way of checking your blood sugar.
Other tests include a fasting blood sugar test and a glucose tolerance test. Dr. Morayati may order these or others to check how well your body handles blood sugar. If your numbers put you at risk for diabetes, Dr. Morayati discusses the next steps.
Regular physical activity is key to health. It not only promotes a healthy weight, it lowers blood pressure, boosts mood, increases energy, and improves how well your body manages blood sugar by boosting insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar levels.
To reap the benefits of exercise, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week. Strength training, such as calisthenics or weight training, is also beneficial. Aim to do some strength training at least twice a week.
Break up extended periods of inactivity, such as computer time. If you work in an office, try to stand up twice an hour and stretch your legs.
While short-term stress may be beneficial to your health, chronic stress weakens your immune system and may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by changing how much insulin you need.
Chronic stress can also set off a hormonal chain-reaction that makes some people more hungry. While removing your source of stress isn't always possible, coping mechanisms like practicing yoga, meditating, reading, writing poetry, counseling, or exercising can counter the effects of stress and keep you in balance.
If you’re overweight, even a modest weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds can significantly lower your risk of developing diabetes. Losing more weight results in even greater health benefits. As a good starting point, it’s recommended that you aim to lose 7-10% of your body fat if you’re overweight or obese. If you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 14 to 20 pounds.
Based on your current body weight, set a weight-loss objective. Discuss attainable short-term objectives and expectations with Dr. Morayati.
Adopt a plant-based diet
A plant-based diet is proven to improve health and lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes. Plants supply your diet with crucial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.
Foods high in fiber encourage weight loss, slow the absorption of sugar, and reduce the risk of diabetes. Try eating a variety of whole, high-fiber foods, such as:
- Leafy greens
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Whole oats
An immediate radical change isn’t necessary. Make small gradual changes that you can stick to so that they become part of your long-term diet. Adding a leafy or non-starchy vegetable with each meal is a good example.
Limiting your carbohydrates and added sugars can also play an important role in managing your blood sugar.
Rely on our team’s expertise and training to help you stay strong and healthy. If you’re concerned about your blood sugar, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with Dr. Morayati at our Burlington, North Carolina, office by calling or booking online today.