Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Although the exact cause of this condition is not clear, experts say it is related to resistance to insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to pass from the blood into the cells.. “When the body doesn’t use insulin properly, sugar can build up in the blood,” says Healthline.
Prediabetes usually causes no symptoms, although some people develop darkening of the skin around the armpits, neck, and elbows. It is important to be clear that if a person is diagnosed with this condition, it does not mean that they will develop type 2 diabetes, but there are some risk factors that may play a role.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States shows that you can have prediabetes for years without any obvious symptoms, so it is often not detected until serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes develop.
For this reason, it is important to consider some risk factors that could generate the condition in order to carry out the tests that allow its diagnosis.. These include the following: overweight, age 45 or older, parent, sibling with type 2 diabetes, physical activity less than three times a week, past gestational diabetes or Down syndrome, polycystic ovary.
“Race and ethnicity are also factors: African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk,” the CDC says.
With lifestyle changes, people can improve their condition and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Here are some recommendations.
1. Follow a natural diet
One risk factor for prediabetes is eating processed foods that contain added fat, calories, and sugar with no nutritional value. Eating a natural diet consisting of healthier options can help restore normal blood sugar levels. This can reverse prediabetes and help prevent type 2 diabetes,” says Healthline. Ideally, eat low-fat, low-calorie foods such as fruits with complex carbohydrates, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats such as avocados and fish.
2. Regular physical activity
Exercise is crucial because it can help increase insulin sensitivity, which means that this hormone can regulate blood sugar levels.
The American Diabetes Association says that physical activity can lower blood sugar for up to 24 hours after exercise. Recommended activities include walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics and jogging.
3. Lose weight
Losing weight when you’re overweight is one of the best strategies for regulating your blood sugar levels. Experts say that glucose increases when people have a large waistline, so healthy diets and regular exercise are key not only to losing extra pounds, but also to managing pre-diabetes if you have one.
4. Quit smoking
When people smoke, they expose themselves to some diseases. Those who use tobacco are at increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer, but the habit may also be a risk factor for insulin resistance and, as a consequence, prediabetes and possible type 2 diabetes.
5. Drink more water
Drinking water is another way to help manage prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes. Staying adequately hydrated helps control blood sugar levels and is also a healthy substitute for sugary drinks and fruit juices that can lead to increased sugar.
Information from the health company Sanitas from Spain recommends that people who have risk factors regularly consult a doctor and examine their sugar levels, because many times prediabetes coexists with other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.