Help for Adults with Prediabetes

Because more than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a national program to help people make the lifestyle changes that can prevent this condition from developing into type 2 diabetes.  Prediabetes is a serious health condition that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke as well as type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, yet 90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

Risk factors for prediabetes include being overweight, being over 45 years old, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, being active less than 3 times a week and having had gestational diabetes or having polycystic ovary syndrome.  African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and some Asian Americans are also at increased risk for prediabetes.

If you have any of these risk factors, ask your doctor if they would suggest a blood sugar test.  Research has found that lifestyle changes can help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.  Losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight and getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 times a week can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent. 

Along with regular exercise, creating a meal plan that focuses on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans, along with fish and poultry and small amounts of dairy, can help adults improve blood sugar and lose weight.  A Mediterranean style diet, with olive oil as the main source of fat, limits red meat along with starchy foods, added sugar and processed foods.  According to the American Diabetes Association, small amounts of wine can be consumed with meals but should be restricted to one glass a day for women and no more than two for men.

Learn your risk for having prediabetes by taking a quick online test here. For help finding a registered dietitian nutritionist, follow this link to the Eat Right website created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.