Prediabetes: 7 steps to take after diagnosis

Help stop your prediabetes from progressing by incorporating lifestyle changes like regular physical activity, a balanced diet and a healthier weight.

Prediabetes: 7 steps to take after diagnosis

Getting the news that you're prediabetic can be scary. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your health from deteriorating. Keeping prediabetes from progressing is possible if you're willing to alter your personal habits and diet.

1. Lose a bit of weight

Weight loss will help keep diabetes at bay, but you'll have to commit to keeping it off. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, studies indicate that losing just five to 10 per cent of your total weight can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

2. Avoid high-sugar drinks

Sugary drinks can spike your blood sugar and increase your overall insulin resistance. Stick to unsweetened drinks and plenty of water to prevent your beverage choices from affecting your overall health.

3. Balance your carbohydrate consumption

When planning your meals, try to balance your carbohydrate consumption with some protein and fat. By avoiding a carbohydrate overload, you'll also prevent your blood sugar from rising. Keep in mind that carbohydrates aren't just found in bread; they're also found in milk, yogurt, fruits and sweets.

4. Incorporate more exercise into your life

A great way to keep prediabetes from progressing is doing 30 to 60 minutes of sweat-inducing exercise at least five days a week. To keep up your new habit, find an exercise that you love. Swimming at the community pool, briskly walking the family dog or taking up a new sport are all excellent options that will help you get the activity your body needs.

5. Get high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control

If you're prediabetic, make sure you're tested for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both are risk factors for diabetes and can impact your heart health as well. Your doctor will let you know if you need to alter your eating habits, exercise more or take medication.

6. Make sure to get at least seven hours of rest

If you get less than six hours of a sleep each night, you're at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance. To prevent diabetes, it's essential that you get more than six hours of sleep per night. Studies disagree when determining the optimal amount of sleep, but most studies indicate between seven to eight hours is the sleep sweet spot.

7. Look for support

Making substantial changes to your eating and exercising habits can be difficult even when you're motivated. To help you maintain your new habits over the long haul, look for sources of support. Your family, doctor, sport team or friends can all help you keep your new resolutions. If you can't find support in any of these areas, consider taking a class for prediabetics, which will teach you the habits you need with like-minded people.

There are other diabetes risk factors such as your age, race and family history that will also affect your chances of developing this chronic disease. However, by addressing the risk factors of prediabetes, you can change and give yourself the best possible chance for living a long and healthy life.

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