Prediabetes - Treatment Overview

Your treatment for prediabetes will focus on losing weight, eating healthy foods, and getting active. This is your chance to reverse prediabetes so it doesn't turn into type 2 diabetes. Doing these things will also help you avoid other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke, that are linked to diabetes.

You may also need to take diabetes medicine along with doing these things.

Prediabetes: Which Treatment Should I Use?

Watch your weight

Most people who have prediabetes are overweight and have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. To find out your BMI, use the Interactive Tool: Is Your BMI Increasing Your Health Risks?

If you have a BMI of 25 or higher, try to lose 5% to 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, aim to lose 10 to 20 pounds.

A healthy weight helps your body use insulin the way it should. Losing weight can also lower insulin resistance in people who have prediabetes. The more you lose, the more you benefit, as long as you do it in a healthy way.

How you do it is up to you. One way to start is by making healthy eating changes that you can keep doing over time. Try reducing the number of calories you eat and drink and adding more activity to your day. For help, see the topic Weight Management.

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One Man's Story:

Jerry, 54

Jerry signed up for a weight-loss program and started a daily food diary to track what and when he ate. He added walks around the neighborhood and visits to the gym to his routine. In 7 months, he dropped 25 pounds-about 10% of his body weight.

"It hasn't been easy. I've had some ups and downs, especially over the holidays. Hey, I love to eat. Sometimes it's hard to stay focused. But tracking what, when, and why I eat helps me to eat less."-Jerry

Read more about Jerry.

Make healthy food choices

Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your health. Try to:

For help, see the topic Healthy Eating.

Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change
Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet
Diabetes: Using a Plate Format to Plan Meals

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Get active

The more active you are, the more sugar (glucose) your body uses for energy. This keeps the sugar from building up in your blood. Exercise can also improve insulin resistance.

Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.

Moderate activity is safe for most people, but it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program. For more help, see the topic Fitness.

Quick Tips: Getting Active At Home
Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
Fitness: Walking for Wellness

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One Woman's Story:

Linda, 39

Linda works full-time, has three young children, and has zero time for the gym. So when she learned she had prediabetes, she had to find creative ways to fit activity into her day. For example, after dinner she turns up the stereo and does dance moves while washing dishes, putting food away, and cleaning the kitchen.

"It takes about a half-hour and is a great workout. My kids get a big kick out of it too."-Linda

Read more about Linda.

Take medicine if you need to

You may need to take an oral medicine, such as metformin. It reduces the amount of sugar made by the liver in people who are insulin resistant.

If you do need medicine, be sure to take it as directed.

If you smoke, quit

Quitting smoking might help you reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease and also might help you avoid other health problems that make diabetes worse. Quitting can also reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Prevent heart disease

When you have prediabetes, you are more likely to get heart disease than someone who has normal blood sugar levels. Your risk of having heart disease is even higher if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. That is why it's important to have a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes preventing or managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Heart Healthy Eating
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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