If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor has probably already instructed you on dietary restrictions and insulin use. But did you know that about 96 million American adults have a condition called “prediabetes”? They don’t have diabetes yet, but chronically high blood sugar puts them at risk, and about 70 million of them will end up with a diabetes diagnosis in the future.
Aside from the risk of developing full-blown diabetes, those with prediabetes face a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. There are plenty of good reasons to start getting your blood sugar under control now.
- Exercise at least 150 minutes per week. You don’t need to join a gym or develop an overly complicated exercise regimen if that’s not your style. Simply getting out and walking, biking, or going for a swim will suffice. The point is to stick to your new lifestyle for the long term.
- Cut back on all starchy, processed foods. It’s not just actual sugar (as in, sweet treats) that trigger high blood sugar levels. Foods like white bread and pasta cause problems, too.
- Eat a low glycemic diet. Those that break down more slowly in the digestive process won’t cause your blood sugar to spike sharply. Download a chart on the glycemic index of common foods or install an app in your smartphone to track your dietary habits.
- Visit your doctor. Remember to get regular checkups to monitor your blood sugar levels. Hopefully you will soon see the trend reverse.
- Consult with a dietician. They can offer more advice specifically geared toward your dietary needs, taking your favorite foods into account, so that you can learn to eat a healthier diet that works for your lifestyle.
- Consider medications like metformin, which can supplement a lifestyle change program to help lower blood sugar.
While living a healthier lifestyle is always wise, make sure to share your concerns with your primary care physician. They can review your plans with you, and make sure that your exercise and dietary changes are safe.