Q: What does it mean to be prediabetic? Can I reverse it?
According to the CDC, around 84 million American adults are pre-diabetic, but 90% don't know it. Having prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal. That is an A1C 5.7 and 6.4%. The good news is, by making lifestyle changes, you can reverse it, and protect yourself from developing diabetes.
If you are overweight, over age 45, or have a close relative with type 2 diabetes, you are at higher risk. Since there are often no clear symptoms with prediabetes, you should ask your doctor for a blood sugar test or A1C.
If you are prediabetic, lifestyle changes can delay or prevent you from developing diabetes. Losing 5 to 7% of your body weight, 14 pounds for a 200-pound person, can lower your risk. Physical activity, ideally 150 minutes of brisk walking every week (30 minutes a day, five days a week) can also help by lowering blood glucose levels and decreasing body fat. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid sugary beverages, and add more fiber to your diet. Finally, make sure you are getting enough regular sleep. Being sleep deprived makes it harder to lose weight, and reduces your body's ability to use insulin, which is important to preventing diabetes.
Most importantly, check in with your doctor regularly to monitor your progress and help you slow or reverse the development of diabetes.