Are You Prediabetic? Here’s How to Reduce Your Blood Glucose
Source: Unsplash | Brooke Lark
Pre-diabetics have high blood sugar levels, but these levels are not high enough to meet the criteria for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Still, a prediabetes diagnosis can be totally overwhelming.
Remember, a prediabetes diagnosis does not mean that the onset of diabetes is inevitable. By reducing your blood glucose levels, you can delay or even prevent the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. But how, exactly, can those blood glucose levels be lowered? Through getting active, eating healthy, losing a little weight and, perhaps, considering some alternative therapies.
Exercising regularly can help you lose weight; which doctors will sometimes recommend to those diagnosed with prediabetes. Plus, physical activity has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels. But when it comes to working out, don’t try to run a marathon on day one. Start small: take a short walk around your neighborhood, and slowly work your way up to 150 minutes of exercise per week.
To make walking (or whatever you’re doing!) more fun, try creating a motivating playlist with your favorite songs or streaming an interesting podcast. Everyday activities like gardening, cleaning the house or mowing the lawn also count toward your exercise goals, as long as your heart race is elevated. If you know you’re motivated by gamification, a fitness tracker may help you up your activity level, too.
Another way to reduce blood glucose levels is through a healthy, balanced diet. Your doctor may recommend you meet with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to create a meal plan that keeps you full and satiated while ensuring your glucose levels stay healthy. Many meal plans for those living with prediabetes include delicious, whole foods like salmon, fiber-rich beans and legumes, lean meats, sweet potatoes and colorful fruits and vegetables.
Your healthcare provider may also talk to you about the Glycemic Index (GI) diet, which was designed to help people better control their blood sugar levels. The GI index gives carbohydrates that quickly raise blood sugars—like sodas, white rice and pretzels—high scores. High-GI foods are to be avoided or eaten only very occasionally. Low-GI foods, like oatmeal, skim milk and peanuts, are very much encouraged.
Talk to your doctor about what foods you should be incorporating into your diet. Changes to your diet may also help you lose weight. For some people, losing just a few pounds can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. One study found that people with prediabetes who lost between 5% to 7% of their body cut their chances of getting diabetes in half. Your physician will let you know if weight loss is a priority for you.
Consider Other Therapies
While not as commonly discussed as diet and exercise, there are groundbreaking therapies that may help reduce blood glucose levels. One such therapy involves klotho protein—a naturally-occurring, human protein which is associated with insulin. Scientists are currently working on developing synthetic klotho protein for human treatment, since studies suggest that the protein may have the potential to reduce blood glucose by raising insulin levels.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, start advocating for yourself today by getting active, eating better and looking into treatments and therapies that might be right for you. See your doctor regularly, ask tons of questions, and find new, healthy routines that you’ll be able to stick with for good.