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 diet and lifestyle, may help manage your diagnosis early on. In a Journal of Internal Medicine study found it is possible to go back to a normal blood sugar level with effective weight management and blood pressure control.
Here are four ways in which you can take charge of your health after a prediabetes diagnosis.
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 adults, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). 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 effectively lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 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:
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 consumption 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 for those with prediabetes, it's a vital component of treatment. During physical activity, your body uses excess sugar in the bloodstream as energy for your cells and muscles. 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 study by the ADA, people 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. Through this physical activity alone, this group lessened their exposure to these risks.
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, after all. 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
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 84 million American adults-more than 1 out of 3-have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it.
If you need to speak to a professional about your diet or other prediabetes treatment questions, try Glucerna's Ask a Dietitian 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 entirely. Making a few simple changes now can add up to a lifetime of better health.
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Small Dietary Changes Can Help Lower Your Blood Sugar and Manage Diabetes
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and another 1 in 5 people don’t know they have the chronic condition. As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, it’s more important than ever to adopt healthy habits and strategies to manage diabetes. Keeping your glucose in check is of the utmost importance when you're managing type 2 diabetes. Often, ensuring your glucose levels stay within a healthy range requires a multifaced approach of a healthy eating plan and exercise along with potential medication. Managing diabetes doesn't have to feel like work, though. In fact, even slight behavior and eating plan changes may have a significant impact on your glucose management. And according to a new pilot study, diabetes specific nutrition as part of a balanced diet shows promise to help improve glucose management. How Diabetes-Specific Nutrition Shakes May Help Pilot data from Abbott and published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care illustrates the important role diabetes-specific nutrition and continuous glucose monitoring can play on glycemic response management of people with type 2 diabetes. The study found that when participants with type 2 diabetes replaced their typical breakfast and an afternoon or evening snack with a diabetes-specific meal replacement, they experienced a lower glucose level after breakfast. The real-world study also demonstrates how continuous glucose monitoring with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre® Pro can help physicians conveniently monitor glucose trends and patterns to make more informed treatment decisions for people with diabetes. The small randomized controlled trial looked at the impact of two daily servings of Glucerna Hunger Smart® shake, a diabetes-specific nutritional formula, on participants' glucose levels. Eighty-one adults with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the study and followed a two-week intervention. In the baseline phase (days one through six), participants continued to follow their regular eating pattern. During the intervention phase (days seven through 14), participants were randomly divided into one of three groups: Group A: Control group with no dietary intervention. Group B: Participants drank one Glucerna Hunger Smart shake as a breakfast meal replacement and a second shake as a mid-afternoon snack. Group C: Participants drank one Glucerna Hunger Smart shake as a breakfast meal replacement and a second shake as a snack before bedtime. In assessing the glucose levels of participants throughout the study, researchers found that drinking a Glucerna Hunger Smart shake twice daily was associated with a 47% reduction in post-meal peak glucose after breakfast, as compared without/before Glucerna Hunger Smart[TS1] . What Does This Mean for Those Managing Type 2 Diabetes? Abbott’s Glucerna brand is one of the most clinically studied diabetes specific formulas with more than 50 clinical studies spanning 30 years.* This research shows that although diabetes is a complex disease, one tool that may make it easier to manage is with the help of a meal or snack replacement such as Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes. Scientifically formulated with CarbSteady®, a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates to help minimize glucose spikes and 15 grams of protein to help satisfy hunger, Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes can serve as a meal or snack. It also packs zinc, vitamins A, C, D and E to support immune health, as well as 6 grams of fiber in 180 calories, and nutrients to help support immune health. While incorporating this nutrition shake to your everyday routine, as part of a balanced eating plan, may help you manage your blood sugar levels, there are a few other ways you can keep your health on the right track.