8 Ways To Prevent Pre-diabetes From Escalating To Diabetes
Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar

Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar

Dec 06Diabetes

8 Ways To Prevent Pre-diabetes From Escalating To Diabetes

This article is compiled by Sanjana Varma, a freelance writer at Proactive For Her.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetic people are at a risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes in future, if left unaddressed.

What causes prediabetes?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas that converts blood sugar into energy to be used by the cells. Obesity causes accumulation of excess fat in the body, due to which the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin. This is a state of “insulin resistance”, where more and more production of insulin from pancreas occurs in order to keep the blood sugar level normal. Eventually, when high levels of insulin hormone fails to control normal blood glucose, prediabetes develops.

Signs & symptoms

Usually prediabetes is a silent condition. It is only later when it has developed into Type 2 diabetes that the symptoms start showing. It is best detected by blood tests. If you feel you are at risk for prediabetes, consult your practitioner and take the tests recommended.

Several risk factors that propel you towards prediabetes/diabetes like:

  • being overweight
  • being 45 years or older
  • having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • having PCOS
  • being African American/Hispanic/Latino Americans/American Indians/Pacific Islanders/ Asian ( race and ethnicity matters)

When to see your doctor

Prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes. So it’s important to monitor your symptoms and speak with your doctor if you develop any early signs of diabetes.

These signs of diabetes vary from person to person but might include:

  • unquenchable thirst
  • frequent urination
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • blurry vision
  • unusual hunger


Ask your doctor if you should be tested. Usually, your doctor will recommend these tests to get you screened for diabetes.

  1. A fasting blood sugar ( A blood test that measures your blood sugar on an empty stomach ) The normal range for fasting sugar is 70-99 mg/dl.
  2. A postprandial blood sugar (A blood test that measures your blood sugar after a meal) The normal range for postprandial is 72-140 mg/dl.
  3. An HbA1C (A measure of long term glucose control - your glycosylated haemoglobin). The normal range for HbA1C is 4%-6%.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

If you are overweight and have prediabetes, losing even a small amount of weight (5%-7%) and regular exercise can lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Let these 8 simple steps guide you towards managing Type 2 diabetes effectively.

1. Watch what you eat

One risk factor for prediabetes is an unhealthy diet. Switching to a healthy diet, minimising fat, sugar and processed food intake can lower your weight and help your pancreas to function easily.

Incorporate low fat and low-calorie foods into your diet. These include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean meats
  • whole grains
  • healthy fats, like avocado, olive oil and fish

2. Exercise regularly

Lack of physical activity is another risk factor for prediabetes. Exercise is not only great for energy and mental health, it can also lower your blood sugar by burning existing body fat and thus increasing insulin sensitivity. This allows the cells in your body to use insulin more efficiently.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), exercise can reduce blood sugar for up to 24 hours after a workout.

If you are new to working out, start slow and pick up your pace as your stamina improves. You can choose from a variety of exercises like walking, aerobics, Zumba or yoga to name a few. Combine this with resistance training exercises which are very good to help lose fat around the belly and other areas.

Ideally, you’ll want to have 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week.

3. Lose excess weight

Excess weight triggers prediabetes. Stay away from stress eating or piling on carbs on busy days. Insulin resistance increases when you have a larger waist size. With the combined benefit of diet and exercise, you can reverse prediabetes.

4. Treat sleep apnea

Sleep apnea has been associated with insulin resistance. With this condition, breathing stops repeatedly throughout the night due to the relaxation of the muscles around the neck.

Signs of sleep apnea include:

  • loud snoring
  • gasping for air during sleep
  • choking during sleep
  • waking up with a headache
  • daytime sleepiness

Treatment usually involves the use of an oral appliance while asleep to keep the throat open.

5. Water is your best buddy

Water helps with the hydration of the body and it’s a healthy substitute for sodas and fruit juices which are high in sugar.

6. Consult a nutritionist

A nutritionist can guide you towards healthy meal plans. Knowing what to eat with prediabetes can be tricky. A nutritionist will tell you what needs to be consumed and what to avoid. They can help you develop a meal plan specific to your condition and offer other practical strategies to maintain a healthy diet. The goal is to stabilize your blood sugar.

Do I need to take medications if I have prediabetes?

Even though some people reverse prediabetes with lifestyle changes, this isn’t enough for everyone. If your blood sugar doesn’t improve and you’re at high risk for developing diabetes, your doctor might prescribe medication.

The good news - It is manageable!

14% of Indians are at risk of developing prediabetes. A prediabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely develop type 2 diabetes. But you’ll need to take action to reverse the condition. Some people have successfully reversed prediabetes by modifying their diet and lifestyle. Getting your blood sugar to a healthy range is the key. You’ll not only avoid type 2 diabetes, but also complications associated with this condition like heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and others. This is your opportunity to take charge of your health and prevent future complications.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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