Nutrition Articles

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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Treatment & Prevention
While pre-diabetes in itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, the fact is that many people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

If you have pre-diabetes, realize that you’re fortunate to have found out while there is still a lot you can do to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes. Here are some preventative measures:
  • Lose weight. In a study of more that 3,000 people with pre-diabetes, a five to seven percent weight loss (about 10 pounds for a 200-pound person) lowered the incidence of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. Follow the SparkDiet to reach your weight loss goal.
  • Get active. Physical activity (and its accompanying weight loss) will lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and boost you health in other ways too. Try walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Read about Exercising with Diabetes for more tips.
  • Eat sensibly. Cut excess calories, sugar, saturated fat and trans fat from your diet and you will cut your risk of diabetes. Include more healthy fats, fiber, whole grains, fruits and veggies, using the Nutrition Resource Center as a guide.
  • Quit smoking. Smokers are 50% to 90% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers. If you smoke, taking steps to quit today can reduce your risk of serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
  • Drink moderately. Moderate drinking (no more than one drink daily for women or two drinks daily for men) has a protective effect against diabetes, but avoid heavy drinking.
If you have pre-diabetes, work closely with your doctor to create a plan of sensible lifestyle changes that will work for you. The complications of diabetes—heart disease, stroke, blindness, and more—can be avoided by taking these proactive steps today.
For more specific information or help, talk to your health care provider. The American Diabetes Association's National Call Center also offers live advice from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday at 1-800-DIABETES or 1-800-342-2383.
Read More:
Prediabetes: What You Need to Know (RealAge.com)

This article has been reviewed and approved by Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • There is a lot of controversy in the medical community with the use of this term. Many dismiss it all together. The same goes for 'Syndrome X.' Promoting health for health's sake is great, but the research needs to be there and there needs to be agreement within the medical community. - 11/14/2014 12:18:16 PM
  • My eating sweets is out of control. I have cut way back, but still crave them. This article was very informative. Thank you.
    Irish Ei - 9/15/2014 10:25:14 AM
  • JUSTMEX2
    Very informative articles - 9/12/2014 8:41:42 AM
  • Hi I am trying to prevent getting diabetes . My sugar was getting a little high. want to stop it in its tracks - 7/12/2014 12:48:26 PM
  • MOMMYCANCOOK
    The filmmakers were on TV and showed how anyone can reverse diabetes with a very, very specialized diet, it works in 17 countries. No more Pre diabetes, it worked for my sister.

    Just google SPIRIT HAPPY BLOGSPOT
    - 6/13/2014 3:51:38 PM
  • The exercise is the key for me. If I eat properly, but get only a little exercise on a particular day, my fasting blood glucose level is in the pre-diabetic range the next morning. If I get in a good hour or more of cardio (hiking or cycling) it is in the normal range the next morning. It's pretty simple for me - exercise or be diabetic. - 6/6/2014 9:49:27 PM
  • JEAN5288
    Blackdog, not true. Take control and you CAN beat it!

    Two years ago I was pre-diabetic, then about a year ago I went over to diabetic. On Tuesday I had my bi-annual blood work and my A1c went from 6.6 to 5.6 since November. I lost weight (almost 50 lbs), watched my diet, and got off my butt and started exercising. It's not easy, wasn't always enjoyable but I did it. If I can, anyone can because I'm one of the least athletic type on the planet! :) - 5/9/2014 7:44:35 PM
  • I find that the SP diabetes recommendations to be too high in carbs and too low in the allowable fat. - 4/15/2014 9:33:09 AM
  • Not true BLACKDOG. With faith and god blessing me and given me me a good husband to help me. I BEAT it. It didn't BEAT me I BEAT IT. And so can you. Good luck.I was needles and then went to pills and from there NOTHING. - 11/23/2013 2:55:05 PM
  • Not true BLACKDOG. With faith and god blessing me and given me me a good husband to help me. I BEAT it. It didn't BEAT me I BEAT IT. And so can you. Good luck.I was needles and then went to pills and from there NOTHING. - 11/23/2013 2:54:39 PM
  • I am SO disappointed to see SP doesn't even mention carbs in relation to predisposing factors or management. Surely educators of RDs know and teach that carbs are just complex sugars.
    ah well
    - 7/1/2013 12:22:49 AM
  • BLACKDOG128
    i just got the news this past monday i have pre diebetes iam scared to death i might as count the years i have left before dieing :( - 6/5/2013 8:41:37 PM
  • hi my name is maryellen and i just find out that i'm a prediabete and in 2010 of march 30th i drop from 355 to 274 pounds which i am very pound of my self . and now my ac1 is high so my drs is watch it and i have to watch what i eat.. but i am lucky cuz i have lose total of 81 pound since 2010. but prediabetes - 5/11/2013 8:26:26 PM
  • AMBAGANJ
    My A1C was high at one time, it was up to 6.7 I watched what I ate and lost weight and the last time it was checked it was 5.2, but what I don't understand is that my glucose is still over a 100 most of the time unless I eat cheerios for breakfast and they bring it down below 65 then I have to eat something because I get the shakes and feel week. - 12/29/2012 2:05:29 PM
  • A little bit about Hemoglobin A1C: This is a helpful screening test for pre-diabetes as well as the tool of choice for monitoring glucose control in diagnosed diabetics. It's not standard of care everywhere to use it as a diagnostic lab for Pre-DM, but is being adopted increasingly as such and is recommended by the ADA. The reason it catches pre-diabetes earlier than a fasting glucose is because typically the blood sugar will be abnormally elevated after a meal (either higher than should be or high for too long) before the fasting sugar is affected in the course of insulin resistance. The glucose tolerance test will also catch these, but it is a one-time shot versus an average of 3-4 months.

    For diagnosis:
    5.6% and below: normal glucose metabolism
    5.7-6.4% Pre-Diabetes. 15-30% of people with Pre-DM will develop diabetes within 5 years without lifestyle change.
    6.5% and above: Diabetes - 11/24/2012 9:26:00 AM

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