If your doctor diagnoses you with prediabetes that means you have a blood sugar level higher than normal. While this condition often leads to type 2 diabetes, you can prevent it or reverse its effects by making significant lifestyle changes.
Both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes have the same risk factors:
- Age greater than 45
- Family history
- Gestational diabetes
- Race – African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and Native Americans are at a higher risk to develop prediabetes than other races
“The key is to eat a healthy diet and stay active,” says Ahmad Z. Sheikh, MD, FACE, ECNU, CCD, endocrinologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner. “You need to stay away from saturated fats and foods that are high in cholesterol. Eat fruits, vegetables and other foods that are rich in fiber. You should also try to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes at
least five times a week. Even a little exercise in short bursts can help prevent diabetes.”
If you are overweight, losing any amount of weight – even just five to seven percent of your body weight – can significantly reduce your risk of diabetes. People with poorly controlled diabetes can experience complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, amputation and eye problems.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to start moving,” says Sheikh. “For some people, the idea of regular exercise is frightening. If you do not exercise at all, start slow. Try walking around the block. Gradually increase the amount of time you walk and your pace, making sure that you are always increasing your heart rate.”
“This disease changes your life,” says Sheikh. “Diabetics have to closely monitor their blood sugar levels and be very careful about what they eat, in addition to taking medications which may include insulin shots. While we can treat diabetes, prevention is the best treatment.”
For more information, call 573-331-3000.