What is prediabetes and how do I prevent it ?

what is prediabetes
insulin and prediabetes

What is Prediabetes

Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke 1). If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes — especially to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys — may already be starting.

Many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

There’s good news, however, progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. Eating healthy foods, modest weight loss, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar level back to normal or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes affects adults and children. The same lifestyle changes that can help prevent progression to diabetes in adults might also help bring children’s blood sugar levels back to normal.

Causes of Prediabetes

The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown. But family history and genetics appear to play an important role. Inactivity and excess fat — especially abdominal fat — also seem to be important factors.

What is clear is that people with prediabetes don’t process sugar (glucose) properly anymore. As a result, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead of doing its normal job of fueling the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.

Most of the glucose in your body comes from the food you eat. When food is digested, sugar enters your bloodstream. Moving sugar from your bloodstream to your body’s cells requires a hormone (insulin).

Insulin comes from a gland located behind the stomach (pancreas). Your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream when you eat.

As insulin circulates, it allows sugar to enter your cells and lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.

When you have prediabetes, this process begins to work improperly. Instead of fueling your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. High blood sugar occurs when your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, or both.
Risk factors

The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing prediabetes. These factors include:

  • Being overweight is a primary risk factor for prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have especially inside and between the muscle and skin around your abdomen — the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • A large waist size can indicate insulin resistance. The risk of insulin resistance goes up for men with waists larger than 40 inches and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
  • Dietary patterns. Eating processed meat and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, is associated with a higher risk of prediabetes. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil is associated with a lower risk of prediabetes.
  • Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Age. Although diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of prediabetes increases after age 45. This may be because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age.
  • Family history. Your risk of prediabetes increases if you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
    Race. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders — are more likely to develop prediabetes.
    Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes while pregnant, you and your child are at higher risk of developing prediabetes. If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), you’re also at increased risk of prediabetes.
    Polycystic ovary syndrome. This common condition — characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases women’s risk of prediabetes.
    Sleep. People with a certain sleep disorder (obstructive sleep apnea) have an increased risk of insulin resistance. People who work changing shifts or night shifts, possibly causing sleep problems, also may have an increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Other conditions associated with prediabetes include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol
  • High levels of triglycerides — a type of fat in your blood

When these conditions occur with obesity, they are associated with insulin resistance. The combination of three or more of these conditions is often called metabolic syndrome.

what is prediabetes

How To Diagnose Pre-Diabetes Signs and Symptoms :

Because having pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms and some people may have risk factors for diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends that blood glucose screening for adults begin at age 45, or sooner if you are overweight and have additional risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Testing allows health care professionals to find pre-diabetes sooner and work with their patients to manage pre-diabetes and prevent complications.

Thirty years ago, virtually all diabetes in young children was thought to be autoimmune type 1 diabetes. But since the mid-90’s we started to see an increase in type 2 diabetes among our youth, particularly in the United States. Indeed, the term adult-onset diabetes has now been scrapped and replaced with “Type 2” because children as young as eight are now developing the disease. And the effects can be devastating. A fifteen-year follow-up of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes found an alarming rate in young adults of blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and death in young adulthood.

Why the dramatic rise in childhood diabetes ?

Because of the dramatic rise in childhood obesity. During the past 30 years, the number of children diagnosed as being overweight has increased by more than 100%. Once an obese child reaches age 6, it’s likely they’ll stay that way. And even if they don’t, being overweight in our youth predicts adult disease and death regardless of adult body weight, even if we lose it.

Being an overweight teen may predict disease risk 55 years later. Twice the risk of dying from heart attack, more cancer, gout, arthritis. In fact being overweight as a teen was a more powerful predictor of these risks then being overweight in adulthood. This underscores the importance of focusing on preventing childhood obesity.

There are several blood tests for prediabetes.

1) Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test

This test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the test measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells (hemoglobin). The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached.

In general:

  • An A1C level below 5.7 percent is considered normal
  • An A1C level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes
  • An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates type 2 diabetes

Certain conditions can make the A1C test inaccurate, such as if you are pregnant or have an uncommon form of hemoglobin (hemoglobin variant).

2) Fasting blood sugar test

A blood sample is taken after you fast for at least eight hours or overnight.

In general:

  • A fasting blood sugar level below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) — 5.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) — is considered normal.
  • A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 7.0 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. This result is sometimes called impaired fasting glucose.
  • A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.

3) Oral glucose tolerance test

This test is usually used to diagnose diabetes only during pregnancy. A blood sample is taken after you fast for at least eight hours or overnight. Then you’ll drink a sugary solution, and your blood sugar level will be measured again after two hours.

In general:

  • A blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is considered normal.
  • A blood sugar level from 140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. This is sometimes referred to as impaired glucose tolerance.
  • A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.

If you have prediabetes, further testing may be needed. At least once a year, your doctor will likely check your:

  • Fasting blood sugar
  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • Total cholesterol, HDL, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides

Testing might occur more frequently if you have additional risk factors for diabetes.

4) Children and prediabetes testing

Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children and adolescents, likely due to the rise in childhood obesity. The ADA recommends prediabetes testing for children who are overweight or obese and who have at least two other risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

These other risk factors include:

  • Family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Race. Children who are African-American, Hispanic or Native American are at higher risk.
  • Sex and age. Type 2 diabetes is more common among girls than boys. A diagnosis of childhood type 2 diabetes often occurs during puberty as early as age 10.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Being born to a mother who had gestational diabetes.

The ranges of blood sugar level considered normal, prediabetic and diabetic are the same for children and adults.

Children who have prediabetes should be tested annually for type 2 diabetes or more often if the child experiences a change in weight or develops signs or symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue or blurred vision.

What test numbers tell you if you have diabetes or prediabetes ?

Each test to detect diabetes and prediabetes uses a different measurement. Usually, the same test method needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Your doctor may also use a second test method to confirm that you have diabetes.

If you had diabetes while you were pregnant, you should get tested 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born to see if you have type 2 diabetes.

The following table helps you understand what your test numbers mean if you are not pregnant.

DiagnosisA1C (percent)Fasting plasma glucose (FPG)aOral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)abRandom plasma glucose test (RPG)a
Normalbelow 5.799 or below139 or below
Prediabetes5.7 to 6.4100 to 125140 to 199
Diabetes6.5 or above126 or above200 or above200 or above

Complications of Prediabetes

People with prediabetes may already have damage to their eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and heart.

Evidence from numerous studies suggests that the chronic complications of type 2 diabetes start to develop during the prediabetic state. So by the time we have prediabetes, it may already too late to prevent organ damage, so best to prevent prediabetes in the first place, and the earlier the better.

The most serious consequence of prediabetes is progression to type 2 diabetes. That’s because type 2 diabetes can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Blindness
  • Amputations

Research indicates that prediabetes is often associated with unrecotypgnized heart attacks and can damage your kidneys, even if you haven’t progressed to type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms.

One possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. Affected areas can include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.

Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you’ve moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision


How you can lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes

Research such as the Diabetes Prevention Program shows that you can do a lot to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Here are some things you can change to lower your risk:

  • Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight.1 For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose about 10 to 14 pounds.
  • Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional about which activities are best. Start slowly to build up to your goal.
  • Eat healthy foods most of the time. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

In 8 randomised clinical trials 3) with 2241 participants randomised to exercise and diet intervention and 2509 participants to standard recommendation. Furthermore, 178 participants were randomised to an exercise only intervention and 167 participants to a diet only intervention. The duration of the interventions in the trials ranged from one year to six years. Interventions varied between studies but mainly consisted of caloric restriction if the person was overweight, low fat content (especially saturated fat), high carbohydrate content and the increase of fibre intake. Physical activity varied but on average at least 150 minutes each week of brisk walking or other activities such as cycling or jogging were recommended. Interventions were mainly delivered by frequent individual counselling by a physiotherapist, an exercise physiologist and a dietitian. Interventions aimed at increasing exercise combined with diet are able to decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in high risk groups (people with impaired glucose tolerance or the metabolic syndrome) by 37% with exercise and diet. This had favourable effects on body weight, waist circumference and blood pressure 4).

Ask your health care professional about what other changes you can make to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Most often, your best chance for preventing type 2 diabetes is to make lifestyle changes that work for you long term. Get started with Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The information below is based on the National Institute of Health sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program research study 5), which showed that people could prevent or delay type 2 diabetes even if they were at high risk for the disease.

Follow these steps to get started on your game plan.

  • 1) Set a weight loss goal

Calculate your BMI to learn whether you are overweight.

If you are overweight, set a weight-loss goal that you can reach. Try to lose at least 5 to 10 percent of your current weight within 6 months. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 10-percent weight-loss goal means that you will try to lose 20 pounds. A good short-term goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.

The keys to preventing type 2 diabetes are to lose weight by choosing foods and drinks that are lower in calories, and to be more active.

Find your weight-loss goal

Find your current weight in the first column to see how much weight you would need to lose for a 5, 7 or 10 percent weight loss. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and want to lose 5 percent of your current weight, then you would need to lose 10 pounds.

Your current weight in poundsPounds to lose 5 percent of your weightPounds to lose 7 percent of your weightPounds to lose 10 percent of your weight

Calculate your weight-loss goal

Use the example below to learn how to calculate your exact weight-loss goal. In this example, the goal is for a 240-pound person to lose 5 percent of his or her weight.

As shown in the example above, a 240-pound person who wants to lose 5 percent of his or her weight would lose 12 pounds and weigh 228 pounds.
Step NumberActionResult
Step 1Weigh yourself to get your current weight.“My weight is 240 pounds.”
Step 2Multiply your weight by the percent you want to lose.“I want to lose 5 percent of my weight.”
240 pounds (current weight)
x .05 (5 percent weight loss)
12 pounds to lose
Step 3Subtract the answer in Step 2 from your current weight.240 pounds (current weight)
– 12 pounds (amount to lose)
228 pounds (weight-loss goal)


  • 2) Follow a healthy eating plan for weight loss

Research shows that you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing weight by following a low-fat, reduced-calorie eating plan and by being more active each day. Following an eating plan can help you reach your weight-loss goal. There are many ways to do this. Remember that the key to losing weight and preventing type 2 diabetes is to make lifelong changes that work for you. Many popular weight-loss plans promise “quick fixes” and haven’t been proven to work long-term or to prevent type 2 diabetes.

The four most important steps to eating healthy for weight loss are:

  • Eat smaller portions than you currently eat of foods that are high in calories, fat, and sugar.
  • Eat healthier foods in place of less-healthy choices.
  • Choose foods with less trans fat, saturated fat, and added sugars.
  • Drink water instead of drinks with sugar such as soda, sports drinks, and fruit juice.

Pay attention to portion sizes

Using the plate method can help you manage your portion sizes. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as chicken or turkey without the skin, or beans. Fill one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.

A portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or at home. A serving, or serving size, is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts, or food label (see food serving sizes below).

food serving sizes

(Source 6)).

Different products have different serving sizes, which could be measured in cups, ounces, grams, pieces, slices, or numbers—such as three crackers. A serving size on a food label may be more or less than the amount you should eat, depending on your age, weight, whether you are male or female, and how active you are. Depending on how much you choose to eat, your portion size may or may not match the serving size.

You can use everyday objects or your hand to judge the size of a portion. For example:

  • 1 serving of meat or poultry is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards
  • 1 3-ounce serving of fish is the size of a checkbook
  • 1 serving of cheese is like six dice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta is like a rounded handful or a tennis ball
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is like a ping-pong ball

How you can manage food portions at home

You don’t need to measure and count everything you eat or drink for the rest of your life. You may only want to do this long enough to learn typical serving and portion sizes. Try these ideas to help manage portions at home:

  • Take one serving according to the food label and eat it off a plate instead of straight out of the box or bag.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV, while driving or walking, or while you are busy with other activities.
  • Focus on what you are eating, chew your food well, and fully enjoy the smell and taste of your food.
  • Eat slowly so your brain can get the message that your stomach is full, which may take at least 15 minutes.
  • Use smaller dishes, bowls, and glasses so that you eat and drink less.
  • Eat fewer high-fat, high-calorie foods, such as desserts, chips, sauces, and prepackaged snacks.
  • Freeze food you won’t serve or eat right away, if you make too much. That way, you won’t be tempted to finish the whole batch. If you freeze leftovers in single- or family-sized servings, you’ll have ready-made meals for another day.
  • Eat meals at regular times. Leaving hours between meals or skipping meals altogether may cause you to overeat later in the day.
  • Buy snacks, such as fruit or single-serving, prepackaged foods, that are lower in calories. If you buy bigger bags or boxes of snacks, divide the items into single-serve packages right away so you aren’t tempted to overeat.

Resources to learn more about portion sizes

  • ChooseMyPlate.gov 7) —learn about portion sizes at meals
  • Just Enough for You: About Food Portions 8) —learn how much you need to eat and how to control food portions

Recommended daily calories and fat grams

The table below shows how many calories and fat grams to eat each day to lose weight. Your needs may be different, but these are good starting points. The amounts are based on the eating patterns used in the Diabetes Prevention Program research study.

*Eating less than 1,200 calories a day is not advised. Source: DPP Lifestyle Manual of Operations 9)
Current WeightCalories Per Day*Fat Grams Per Day
120-170 pounds1,20033
175-215 pounds1,50042
220-245 pounds1,80050
250-300 pounds2,00055


  • You can also use the Body Weight Planner 10) to make a calorie and activity plan that can help you reach your weight-loss goals within a set time frame. The Body Weight Planner 11)  allows you to make personalized calorie and physical activity plans to reach a goal weight within a specific time period and to maintain it afterwards.
  • You can also the SuperTracker 12) to get a personalized meal plan based on your calorie results from the Body Weight Planner. SuperTracker is a free food, physical activity, and weight tracking tool from the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion 13). The SuperTracker is a free, award-winning, state-of-the-art, online diet and activity tracking tool available from the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion 14). Built and maintained by USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, this free application empowers Americans to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic diet-related disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling.

Note: This information is for use in adults defined as individuals 18 years of age or older and not by younger people, or pregnant or breastfeeding women.


  • 3) Move more

When you move more every day, you will burn more calories. This can help you reach your weight-loss goal and keep the weight off. Even if you don’t lose weight, being more active may help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Find ways to be active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Start slowly and add more activity until you get to at least 30 minutes of physical activity, like a brisk walk, 5 days a week.Walking is recommended for most people. Check with your health care team about other exercise programs.

Use these tips to get started, and keep moving:

  • Dress to move. Wear walking shoes that fit your feet and provide comfort and support. Your clothes should allow you to move and should keep you dry and comfortable. Look for fabrics that take sweat away from your skin to keep you cool.
  • Start slowly. Start by taking a 5-10 minute walk (or doing another activity that you like) on most days of the week. Slowly, add more time until you reach at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 days a week. Moderate-intensity activity will increase your heart rate and breathing. To check your intensity, use the Talk Test: a person doing moderate-intensity activity is able to talk but not sing.
  • Add more movement to your day. There are many ways you can add more movement to your day. If you have a dog, take your dog for a brisk walk in the morning or evening. When going shopping, park further away from the store’s entrance to increase your walk time. If you ride the bus, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way if it is safe.
  • Try to sit less in your day. Get up every hour and move. When you watch TV, walk or dance around the room, march in place, or stretch.
  • Move more at work. Take a “movement break” during the day. Go for a walk during lunchtime. Deliver a message in person to a coworker instead of sending an email. Walk around your workplace while talking on the telephone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator to your workplace. Use the alarm on your phone, watch, or other device to remind you to take “movement breaks.”
  • Count your steps. You may be surprised to learn how much walking you already do every day. Use a pedometer or other wearable device to keep track of your steps. A pedometer is a gadget that counts the number of steps you take. Work up to 7, 000-10,000 steps per day.
  • Keep your muscles strong. Do activities to strengthen your muscles, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands 2 or more days a week.
  • Stretch it out. If your body aches or is sore, you are less likely to move more. To reduce stiff or sore muscles or joints, consider stretching after being active. Don’t bounce when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far as you feel comfortable.
  • Make it social. When you bring other people into your activities, you are more likely to stick to your plan. Make walking “dates” with friends or family members throughout the week. For family fun, play soccer, basketball, or tag with your children. Take a class at a local gym or recreation center to be active with other people. Start a walking group with your neighbors, at work, or where you worship.
  • Have fun. Being active doesn’t have to be boring or painful. Turn up the music and dance while cleaning the house. Go dancing with friends and family members. Play sports with your kids or grandkids. Try swimming, biking, walking, jogging, or any activity that you enjoy that gets you moving. Find different ways to be active so you won’t get bored.
  • Keep at it. Reward yourself with nonfood treats, such as watching a movie, to celebrate your small successes. The longer you keep at it, the better you’ll feel. Making changes is never easy, but being more active is one small step toward a big reward: a healthier life.


  • 4) Track your progress

Research shows that people who keep track of their weight and activity reach their goals more often than those who don’t. Weigh yourself at least once a week. Keep track of what you eat and drink, how many minutes of activity you get each day, and your weight. Use your phone, a printed log, online tracker, app, or other device to record your weight, what you eat and drink, and how long you are active.

The examples below show how to record your daily activity and food intake.

Daily Activity
Type of ActivityMinutes
Stationary bike20
Daily Total30
Daily Steps
Number of Steps Taken7,450
Daily Food and Drink Intake
TimeAmountFood ItemCaloriesFat Grams
8:00 a.m.1 cupOatmeal1603.5
½ cupStrawberries250
6 oz.Light yogurt900
1 cupTea with sugar-free sweetener00
11:00 a.m.10Almonds706.0
12:30 p.m.2 slicesWheat bread1602.0
4 oz.Ham1253.0
2 tsp.Mustard50
1 oz. sliceCheese1109.0
1 oz.Potato chips16010.0
10Cherry tomatoes300
4:00 p.m.4 squaresGraham crackers1203.0
1 tbsp.Peanut butter958.0
6:30 p.m.3 oz. skinlessChicken breast1403.0
1 cupCooked broccoli550
½ cupBrown rice1101.0
1 cupPineapple chunks800
1 cupNonfat milk90.5
Daily Total1,625 calories49.0 grams


  • 5) Talk with your health care team

Ask your health care team about steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes. Learn about other ways to help reach your goal, such as taking the medicine metformin. Also, ask if your health insurance covers services for weight loss or physical activity.

  • 6) Get support for changing your lifestyle

It’s not easy to make and stick to lifelong changes in what you eat and how often you are active. Get your friends and family involved by asking them to support your changes. Join with a neighbor or coworker in changing your lifestyle. You can also join a diabetes prevention program to meet other people who are making similar changes.

Talk with your health care team to learn about programs that may help, such as the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

  • National Diabetes Prevention Program 15) —Led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Diabetes Prevention Program offers lifestyle change programs based on the Diabetes Prevention Program research study. Participants work with a lifestyle coach in a live group or online setting to receive a 1-year lifestyle change program that includes 16 core sessions (usually 1 per week) and 6 post-core sessions (1 per month).
  • Find a program near you 16).
  • Find a registered dietitian nutritionist 17) near you.
  • Find a diabetes educator 18) near you.
  • Local hospitals, health departments, libraries, senior centers, or faith-based organizations may offer additional programs or seminars about type 2 diabetes prevention.


How To Treat Prediabetes :

Healthy lifestyle choices can help you bring your blood sugar level back to normal, or at least keep it from rising toward the levels seen in type 2 diabetes.

To prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, try to:

  • Eat healthy foods. Choose foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without compromising taste or nutrition.
  • Be more active. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
  • Lose excess weight. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight — only 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (91 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Take medications as needed. If you’re at high risk of diabetes, your doctor might recommend metformin (Glucophage, others). Medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure might also be prescribed.

Children and prediabetes treatment

Children with prediabetes should undertake the lifestyle changes recommended for adults with type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Medication generally isn’t recommended for children with prediabetes.
  • Losing weight.
  • Eating fewer refined carbohydrates and fats, and more fiber.
  • Spending at least one hour every day in physical activity

Alternative medicine

Many alternative therapies have been touted as possible ways to treat or prevent type 2 diabetes, including:

Cassia cinnamon
White mulberry

Although some of these substances have shown promise in early trials, there’s no definitive evidence that any of these alternative therapies are effective.

Talk to your doctor if you’re considering dietary supplements or other alternative therapies to treat or prevent prediabetes. Some of these supplements or alternative therapies might be harmful if combined with certain prescription medications. Your doctor can help you weigh the pros and cons of specific alternative therapies.

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