An estimated one-third of U.S. adults have prediabetes. Most don't even know it.
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. You can still suffer some of the complications of diabetes.
Once you get diabetes, it's a lifelong condition. It cannot be cured. But type 2 diabetes, the most common form, can often be prevented.
So if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, the best way to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and join a diabetes prevention program recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And don't forget to get annual screenings for diabetes and work with your doctor who can size up your risks for cardiovascular disease.
At home, here are 10 surprisingly easy ways to work exercise and healthy eating into your day.
Take a short, brisk walk (3.5 mph) before work, during your lunch break and after dinner. Ten minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at a time adds up to healthy benefits.
Clean up the yard. Light gardening and yard work (such as raking and bagging leaves or using a lawnmower) counts as moderate activity.
Play with the kiddos. When you're active with your children, it's good for you and for them. And you're setting a good example to boot.
Hop on the saddle - the bicycle, that is. Riding at a casual pace (less than 10 mph) counts as moderate activity.
Get up and boogie. Dancing counts as moderate-intensity activity - and it's fun.
Track your physical activity toward a minimum goal of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two days a week of strength-building activity. Consider using a pedometer, an exercise journal or logging the time on your calendar.
If you have some pounds to lose, losing 7 percent of your body weight can cut your diabetes risk by more than half. For a 200-pound person, that means a weight loss of 15 pounds. Set a goal and work with your doctor to take off some excess pounds.
Alcohol is a chief source of calories for adults. Consider unsweetened tea or water. If you choose to have alcohol, drink moderately - no more than one drink a day for women, no more than two for men.
Grain-based desserts are the leading source of calories in the adult diet. Trade that pastry for a bowl of fruit or a low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
Measure your cereal. Compare your normal portion to a serving size on the package. You may be surprised to learn how many calories you're really consuming. Use low-fat or fat-free milk to cut even more calories.
Note: If you are physically inactive or you have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy or other symptoms, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe and suitable for you.
Created on 07/15/2009
Updated on 09/10/2014
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans.
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes–2014.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary guidelines for Americans, 2010.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy weight — it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! Healthy eating for a healthy weight.