You’ve probably heard about diabetes, but did you know there’s a condition called prediabetes? It’s a health issue that growing numbers of people are presenting with these days. To discover more about prediabetes and the role lifestyle choices play, keep reading.
What is Pre-Diabetes?
Our blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin moves sugar from the blood into the cells, providing them with the energy they need to function. With prediabetes, insulin does not work as well as it should — this is known as insulin resistance. When this happens, sugar in the blood rises to levels that are above average but below the threshold level for diabetes.
Effects of prediabetes on your health
The effects of prediabetes are not always immediate. However, if you are diagnosed with the condition, it is a warning signal. It could lead to type 2 diabetes (the most common form of diabetes), heart disease, and stroke.
Are you at risk?
You are at greater risk of prediabetes if you are:
• Over 45 years old
• Overweight and have a large waist size (more than 80 cm for females and more than 94 cm for males)
• From a family with a history of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes
• From an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Island, Chinese, or Indian subcontinent background
• A woman who has given birth to a baby over 4.5 kg or had gestational diabetes during pregnancy or had polycystic ovarian syndrome
Other risk factors include:
• Physical inactivity
• Poor nutrition
• Medical conditions (such as having high blood pressure or high blood fat)
Preventing and reversing prediabetes
If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s important to make some key lifestyle changes. This can help delay and prevent type 2 diabetes. In many cases, it can even reverse your prediabetes.
So what are those lifestyle changes? Let’s take a look.
Take control of your mental health
Receiving a diagnosis of prediabetes can be stressful, and making the necessary changes to your lifestyle can be hard work. To help you cope, why not try some mind and mood techniques? These include meditation, deep breathing, and yoga.
Get more physical exercise
Controlling your blood sugar levels and keeping your heart healthy is vital if you have prediabetes. Getting about 30 minutes of exercise every day can help enormously. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our free fitness workouts.
Eat more healthily
A healthy eating plan is essential for managing prediabetes. Try to:
• Eat more fruit and vegetables
• Eat more nuts, seeds, legumes, and wholegrain foods
• Limit your intake of biscuits, cakes, pastries, takeaway foods, sugary drinks, fatty meats, butter, and full-fat dairy products
You can find some great healthy eating tips here.
The importance of social connection
Support from family and friends can make a world of difference. Talk about your health condition with others — and listen to their troubles in return.
Encourage a family member or friend to exercise with you. Having a workout buddy makes getting fitter more fun. You can also join a fitness class and make new friends there.
Happy and healthy
If you have prediabetes, you can still lead a happy and healthy life, provided you:
• Follow your doctor’s advice
• Manage your stress levels
• Get more exercise
• Follow a sensible diet
Read our blog for more wellness ideas or join our community today — it’s free.