Prediabetes is a term that is used when you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. It means that your blood sugar is
higher than it should be. Most people who get type 2 diabetes have prediabetes
first. The good news is that lifestyle changes may help you get your blood
sugar back to normal and avoid or delay diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
is a lifelong disease that happens when the
pancreas can't make enough
insulin and/or the body's tissues can't use
insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use sugar
(glucose) for energy. It also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat,
and liver cells.
Without insulin, the sugar can't get into the
cells to do its work. It stays in the blood instead. This can cause high blood
sugar levels. A person has diabetes when the blood sugar stays too high too
much of the time.
Over time, high blood sugar can cause serious
problems with the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. High blood
sugar also makes a person more likely to get serious illnesses or infections.
What causes prediabetes?
Doctors don't know
exactly what causes prediabetes. People who are
overweight, aren't physically active, and have a family
history of diabetes are more likely to get prediabetes.
Women who have had
gestational diabetes are also more likely to get
What are the symptoms?
Most people with
prediabetes don't have any symptoms. But if you have prediabetes, you need to
watch for signs of diabetes, such as:
The key to treating prediabetes
and preventing type 2 diabetes is getting your blood sugar levels back to a
normal range. You can do this by making some lifestyle changes.
Watch your weight. If you are
overweight, losing just a small amount of weight may help. Reducing fat around your waist is particularly important.
Make healthy food choices.
Limit how much fat you eat, and try to eat foods that are high in
Try to eat about the same amount of
carbohydrate at each meal. This helps keep your blood
sugar steady. Carbohydrate affects blood sugar more than other nutrients. It is
found in sugar and sweets, grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and milk and
Talk to your doctor, a
diabetes educator, or a
dietitian about an eating plan that will work for you.
There are many ways to manage how much and when you eat.
Be active. You can do
vigorous activity, or both. Bit by bit, increase the
amount you do every day. You may want to swim, bike, or do other activities.
Walking is an easy way to get exercise.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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