Prediabetes is a warning sign that you're at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. It means that your blood sugar is higher than it should be. But it's not high enough to be diabetes.
The food you eat naturally turns into sugar. Your body uses sugar for energy. Normally, an organ called the pancreas makes insulin. And insulin allows the sugar in your blood to get into your body’s cells. But sometimes the body can’t use insulin the right way. So, the sugar stays in your blood instead. This is called insulin resistance. The buildup of sugar in your blood means you have prediabetes.
The good news is that you may be able to prevent or delay diabetes. Making small lifestyle changes, like getting active and changing your eating habits, may help you get your blood sugar back to normal. You can work with your doctor to make a treatment plan.
How do you prevent diabetes?
- Watch your weight.
- Try to lose 7% to 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, aim to lose 14 to 20 pounds. The easiest way to lose weight is to cut calories and be more active.
- Make healthier food choices.
- It can be hard to make big changes to the way you eat. It's okay to start small. Limit calories, sweets, and unhealthy fats. Eat more fruit, vegetables, and fiber.
- Aim to increase your activity level.
- When you're active, your body uses glucose. The more active you are, the more glucose your body uses for energy. This keeps the sugar from building up in your blood. Exercise can also improve insulin resistance. Walking is a great way to start.
If you already have prediabetes, these same steps can keep it from turning into type 2 diabetes.
Who is at risk for diabetes?
- People who are overweight or get little or no exercise.
- Have type 1 or type 2 diabetes in your family.
- Eat a diet that isn’t healthy for them.
- African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk.
- Women who had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Having type 1 diabetes in your family.
- White people have a greater risk than Black, Asian, or Hispanic people of getting type 1 diabetes.