Prediabetes: What You Need to Know

Prediabetes: What You Need to Know

Updated November 2020. 

If you recently developed prediabetes, you're not alone. An estimated 79 million Americans have prediabetes. However, with some lifestyle and diet adjustments, you can make healthy changes to help prevent diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood glucose has started to rise but is not elevated enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. It is a warning sign that you are at a high risk of developing diabetes.

Unfortunately, there are no clear symptoms for prediabetes. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes it is important to understand that you're not definitely going to develop diabetes, but you are at risk.

There are many changes you can make to lower your risk and prevent the disease. In fact, research has shown that diet and lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for developing diabetes by 58%!

What are the tests for prediabetes?

Typically it will show up on a blood test. These are three different blood tests that can indicate prediabetes:

Test: Normal Range Prediabetes Diabetes
Fasting blood glucose <100 101-125 >125
Hemoglobin A1C <5.8 5.8-6.4 >/= 6.5
2-hour oral glucose tolerance test <140 140-199 >/= 200

What can you do to delay or prevent diabetes?

Tip 1: Change your diet!

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables: Aim for 5 servings daily.
  • Choose non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, or zucchini.
  • Choose whole grains over processed grains. Try brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, or quinoa.
  • Include fish in your diet two to three times per week. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
  • Include beans and legumes in your meals such as kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  • Cut back on high-calorie snack foods and desserts.
  • Choose lean meats such as skinless poultry or lean cuts of beef and pork.
  • Being overweight increases your risk of both diabetes and heart disease. Even a moderate amount of weight loss can drastically reduce your risk.
    • For example, if you currently weigh 200 lbs., losing only 14 lbs. could significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes. 

Tip 2: Get Moving

  • Start out slow. Be active for 10 minutes at a time 3 to 4 times per week.
  • Try walking for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night.
  • Continue to increase your activity with the goal of 20 minutes per day, 5 times a week.

There are many ways to delay or prevent the development of diabetes. Almost all patients with type 2 diabetes have prediabetes first. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, it is a good time to start making changes to your diet and lifestyle!

Need help with changing your lifestyle? Connect with a registered dietitian on Amwell for help creating meal plans, grocery lists, and weight loss goals.

Now is the time to try telemedicine!

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