If you have been told you have “borderline” diabetes, you likely have a condition known as prediabetes
. Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes, when glucose levels are elevated but are not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but you can prevent or at least delay that more serious diagnosis. I like to tell my clients that a diagnosis of prediabetes can be a positive thing--you will now have the motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Diagnosis of Prediabetes
There are three different blood tests that can be used to diagnosis prediabetes. Only one of these tests needs to done to determine the diagnosis.
Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
- Fasting glucose: a lab result between 100 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl) and 125 mg/dl
- Glucose tolerance test (the patient first drinks 75 grams of a concentrated glucose solution; waits for 2 hours; and gets blood test): 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl
- A1C: between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent
A landmark study in 2002, called the Diabetes Prevention Program
(DPP), showed us the importance of lifestyle changes. Losing weight by following a diet lower in calories and fat and also by increasing exercise reduced the rate of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in a group of people with prediabetes. This is a huge reduction in cases, even larger than the reduction achieved by a diabetes medication, Metformin, which reduced diabetes by 31 percent.
How many pounds must be shed?
I know you might be thinking you’ll have to lose a lot of weight to prevent diabetes. Actually, though, the participants in the DPP lost on average about 7 percent of their weight (15 pounds for a 200-pound person).
So the message is not that you need to be at your ideal body weight: Just losing some weight will help you prevent diabetes.
If You Have Prediabetes
The good news is that you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Try to incorporate a few of these tips and you will on your way.
- Start some type of regular exercise. Aim for about 30 minutes of planned exercise every other day.
- Cut out sweets and snack foods.
- Replace some of the starchy foods on your plate with vegetables.
- Try low-fat versions of some foods, especially condiments like mayonnaise and salad dressings.
- Slow down your rate of eating--enjoy your food and a good conservation