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Halt Prediabetes Before It Spins Out of Control

Prediabetes means you have higher-than-normal blood sugar that’s not yet in the diabetes range.

“Certain risk factors boost your odds of developing prediabetes and later type 2 diabetes,” says family physician Beth Careyva, MD, LVPG Family Medicine.

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Beth Careyva, MD
Family medicine

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The trouble starts when your body either resists the effect of insulin or your pancreas doesn’t produce enough. Insulin’s job is to unlock cells so they can use glucose for energy. When the body either becomes resistant to insulin or not enough is circulating, blood sugar rises. Elevated glucose levels can damage the linings of blood vessels, leading to damage to the eyes, kidneys and other sensitive tissues.

Before prediabetes becomes type 2 diabetes, there are steps you can take.

Risk factors for prediabetes include:

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes

  • Being over age 45

  • Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby 9 pounds or larger

  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

Early detection is key.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends blood glucose screening for adults age 40-70 who are overweight or obese. Your doctor may suggest earlier screening.

Course Correction

“You can prevent prediabetes from progressing by making lifestyle changes,” says endocrinologist Natia Potter, MD, with LVPG Endocrinology in Hazleton.

Prediabetes prevention tips:

  • Eat healthy. Avoid white starches like bread, pasta, and rice. They cause blood sugar spikes. Eat low-carbohydrate meals featuring whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit.

  • Boost physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate daily activity. “Pick anything you enjoy, like walking, gardening or dancing, that uses your muscles and increases your heart rate,” Potter says.

  • Shed extra pounds. Even a 5 percent weight loss can begin reversing prediabetes.

  • Sleep more soundly. Lack of sleep stresses your body and boosts carb cravings. Get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.

  • Additional help. Some people may benefit from a glucose-lowering drug like Metformin. Weight- loss surgery is another option for patients struggling with obesity.

Learn more about prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and our support services that can help. Visit LVHN.org or call 888-402-LVHN (5846).