4 Wellness Steps to Take After a Prediabetes Diagnosis 

4 Wellness Steps to Take After a Prediabetes Diagnosis 

4 Wellness Steps to Take After a Prediabetes Diagnosis
4 Wellness Steps to Take After a Prediabetes Diagnosis
4 Wellness Steps to Take After a Prediabetes Diagnosis

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If you've been recently diagnosed with prediabetes, you probably have a million questions running through your mind. What — if anything — can I do to improve my health? Is prediabetes the same as diabetes? Will my life dramatically change? 

But a prediabetes diagnosis shouldn't be a cause for panic. Instead, consider it an opportunity to make some healthy lifestyle changes. While prediabetes is a health condition defined by blood sugar levels that are consistently above average, the risk for diabetes still increases. Taking steps to change your diet1 and lifestyle may help manage your diagnosis early on. 

1. Tweak Your Diet for Better Blood Sugar Management

A fasting blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/dl is considered prediabetes, while a reading below 100 mg/dl is considered healthy for most adults2. Making changes to your diet and maintaining a healthy weight are the most effective ways to lower your blood sugar and keep it at a healthy level.

Small changes, like increasing your intake of fiber-rich fruits and non-starchy vegetables, have been shown to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes effectively. A healthcare professional, such as a dietitian, can help you make a food plan that includes these key sources of nutrients. In the meantime, here are some healthy eating strategies you can start implementing today:

  • Portion control. Choosing the correct portion sizes is key to managing your blood sugar. Refer to the Healthy Plate method. On a 9-inch plate, you'll want to fill 25% of it with protein, 25% with whole grains and starches, and the remaining 50% with non-starchy vegetables.
  • Healthy snacking. When choosing snacks, opt for those low in sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats to avoid blood sugar spikes and weight gain. Healthy snack options like protein-rich dairy products, fruits such as apples, vegetables, or a small serving of nuts are all good options.
  • Plan Ahead. Planning and keeping on-the-go snacks or nutritional products handy is key for those with busy lifestyles. Consider keeping a stash of Glucerna® Ready-to-Drink as grab-and-go options for when you're slammed with meetings at work or rushing to get the kiddos off to school. Glucerna® products have blends of slowly released and absorbed carbohydrates to help minimize blood sugar spikes. They're a smart, portion-controlled choice with less than 250 calories per shake.

2. Cut Back on Indulgences and Find Your Zen

Certain lifestyle factors — stress, drinking alcoholic beverages, and smoking, to list a few — can make it harder to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. And while reducing stress is often easier said than done, it's important to make time for yourself and take steps to manage it. Mindful exercises like yoga and tai chi are a great way to find your zen while also getting in a healthy dose of fitness.

Limiting your alcohol consumption4 to one glass per day and quitting smoking can also help stabilize blood sugar levels. So instead of winding down after a long day's work with a few beers, try taking a walk, spending time with friends or family, or maybe pick up that book that's been collecting dust.

3. Incorporate Exercise Into Your Normal Routine

There's no doubt that exercise is great for everyone, but it's a vital component of treatment for those with prediabetes. Your body uses excess sugar in the bloodstream as energy for your cells and muscles during physical activity. So instead of this sugar sitting around and turning into fat, it gets burnt off and put to good use through exercise.

According to a study5, those with diabetes who exercised moderately for 30 minutes, three to four times a week, maintained healthy blood sugar levels for almost three hours longer each day than the non-exercising group. The effects of high blood sugar can include nausea, loss of breath, and the eventual development of type 2 diabetes. This group lessened their exposure to these risks through this physical activity alone.

It's important to note that if you're starting an exercise routine for the first time, it's best to build up gradually to the recommended 30 minutes a day. So, start small and break it into increments if needed — three ten-minute walks can be far less daunting than one long one. One of the most common causes of low blood glucose is too much physical activity. In fact, moderate to intense exercise may cause your blood glucose to drop for the next 24 hours following exercise.

4. Know You Don't Have to Take This Wellness Journey Alone

If you need to speak to a professional about your diet or other prediabetes treatment questions, try Glucerna® 's Ask an expert online chat service or find a registered dietitian in your area. If you have personal medical questions, keep the line of communication open with your doctor, and be sure to make regular appointments to track your progress.

A prediabetes diagnosis doesn't have to turn your world upside down. While it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed when facing something new, taking these steps may improve your chances of avoiding type 2 diabetes. Making a few simple changes now can add up to a lifetime of better health.

1 Diabetes: 10 Foods and Drinks to Help Manage Blood Sugar (nutritionnews.Abbott)

2 Prediabetes | ADA

3 Higher intake of fruits, vegetables or their fiber reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes: A meta‐analysis - PMC (nih.gov)

4 Five Lifestyle Factors Lower Diabetes Risk | National Institutes of Health (NIH) 

5 Exercise Therapy in Type 2 Diabetes | Diabetes Care | American Diabetes Association (diabetesjournals.org)

6 New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

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