There are 29 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes and most of those people had prediabetes, which is a health condition that affects a whopping 79 million Americans. For those who don’t know, prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough as someone with diabetes would be.
“High consumption of carbohydrates lead to a high level of glucose in the bloodstream. The pancreas has to secrete more insulin than usual to mop up the excess glucose in the blood stream,” explains Dr. Bola Oyeyipo, a family physician in San Antonio, Texas and co-founder of Healthgist.com. “Over time, the body stops responding to the extra insulin push. This stage is known as insulin resistance or prediabetes.”
Prediabetes is also referred to as borderline diabetes. Furthermore, here are three other important things you need to know about prediabetes:
1. You can stop it in its tracks.
If you catch prediabetes early enough and take the necessary precautions, your blood glucose levels can return back to normal.
“Prediabetes is completely reversible with simple life style changes of cutting back on consumption of refined carbohydrates like white bread and white bread. Eat the whole grain version instead,” Dr. Oyeyipo confirms.
“Also, practice portion control by limiting the consumption of carbohydrates serving per meal to not more than your fist size. Fill your plate with vegetables and lean meats,” she adds. “Regular exercise is a must otherwise excess glucose in the blood stream and not used up but stored in the liver or stored as fat under the skin.”
2. It can be avoided altogether.
By eating right, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight, you can prevent prediabetes and other serious health conditions, including hypertension and heart disease.
“Maintain a healthy lifestyle of a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in fiber and regular exercise,” Dr. Oyeyipo says.
3. It can be genetic.
Family history plays a strong role in many health risks and prediabetes is certainly no exception. If someone in your family has prediabetes, you have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Dr. Oyeyipo says, “There is the nature side of prediabetes – genetics – which you cannot influence and there is the nurture side to prediabetes – lifestyle choices – which you are in complete control of.”