Diagnosed with Prediabetes – Now What?

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Have you been told that you have borderline diabetes or prediabetes, but you’re not quite sure what that means? If so, you are not alone!

Many people are diagnosed with prediabetes, often times without being educated or given any additional information about the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 86 million American adults have prediabetes. Ultimately, 15-30% of people with prediabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

What is prediabetes? 

You may or may not feel any symptoms if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes. However, some things to be on the lookout for include extreme thirst, tiredness, blurred vision, gum inflammation, and cuts that don’t heal.

If you are concerned that you may have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, make sure you contact your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis. They will be able to tell how advanced your condition is, and if it has progressed.

How can I prevent diabetes?

Prediabetes may seem scary, but knowing how you can prevent type 2 diabetes is the key to success for a healthier future. There are some ways you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes:

1. Eat healthy 

Easier said than done, right?! Eating healthy is difficult but is important if you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes. Just remember, you’re not alone. There are a lot of great resources out there to help you improve your diet!

The CDC has a variety of information on learning how to eat right. Visit their website here for information on healthy food choices, and creating a diabetes meal plan.

Registered dietitians (RD) can also be a great resource for information on eating healthy, as they are experts in food and nutrition. They can help you understand your ideal body weight and dietary needs, create special diet plans, and discuss nutrition topics related to diseases like diabetes.

There are also many lifestyle programs that you can get involved with! Programs like Weight Watchers can support you on your journey to mental, emotional and physical health.

2. Be active

The new Standards of Care from the American Diabetes Association recommend that prediabetics should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. I know, this sounds like a lot, but it only really means at least 20 minutes of brisk walking per day!

You can also purchase a motivational device like a pedometer or wristband to help you reach your fitness goals. Many of these advanced wearable devices can track your heart rate, level of activity, and sleep patterns to help hold you more accountable.

Finally, check to see if the city you live in has any free programs that can help you be more active. Websites like Cities Changing Diabetes or In My Community can give you more information on healthy events and activities near you.

3. Watch your weight

If you start eating healthy and being more active, your end results should ultimately result in weight loss. According to the American Diabetes Association, prediabetics should aim to maintain a minimum weight loss of 7% of your total body weight. The recommended pace of weight loss is around 1-2 lbs each week.

4. Join a diabetes prevention program

 Joining a CDC-led national diabetes prevention program (DPP) is one of the best things you can do to prevent diabetes. The DPP program focuses on improving physical activity, healthy eating, stress management and behavior changes through individual and group work. Joining a DPP program cuts your work of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50%.

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