Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

How to Stop Prediabetes in Its Tracks

When your doctor tells you that you have prediabetes, you might think there's no reason to take action just yet. Or you might assume that you're definitely going to get diabetes. Not so! You do need to take prediabetes seriously, but there's still time to turn things around -- if you start now.

The goal is to get your blood sugar level out of the prediabetes range, and keep it that way.

What you do every day makes a big difference. Making lifestyle changes may be even more powerful than just taking medication.

That's what happened in a large study called the Diabetes Prevention Program: People with prediabetes who lost a small amount of weight through diet and exercise cut their odds of getting type 2 diabetes by 58%, compared to 31% for people who only took the prescription drug metformin.

Start by making these three changes.

1. Lose Extra Weight.

If you're overweight, slimming down is the key to turning the odds in your favor.

Research shows that shedding just 5% to 10% of your body weight is often enough to get blood sugar levels back into the normal range and avoid diabetes or at least delay its onset.

To reach your goal, limit portion sizes; cut calories; and eat fewer foods that are high in fat (especially saturated fat), sugar, and carbohydrates.

You should also eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

2. Make Exercise a Habit.

Leading an active life is a must. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity (something that raises your heart rate, like walking, biking, or swimming) 5 days a week (150 minutes per week). Plus, do some strength-training exercise, like lifting weights or using resistance bands, at least twice a week.

Strength work builds muscle, which helps lower your blood sugar level, helps your body respond better to insulin (which controls blood sugar), and burns calories even when you're not moving.

3. If You Smoke, Stop.

Smoking is strongly linked to diabetes: People who smoke are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don't. And people with diabetes who continue smoking are more likely to develop complications such as heart disease and blindness. So the sooner you ditch the cigarettes, the better.

When You Need Medication

While lifestyle changes can work wonders, some people with prediabetes also need medication.

Your doctor may prescribe metformin if you have certain risk factors, such as low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, high triglycerides (a type of blood fat), a parent or sibling with diabetes, or are overweight.

If you take metformin, you'll need to follow up with your doctor. You'll also need to keep up a healthy lifestyle.

Take action now, and ask for extra help from your doctor, a nutritionist, or personal trainer if you need it.

WebMD Medical Reference

Next Article:

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article