Prediabetes is a blessing in disguise to warn you about your risk of developing full blown type 2 diabetes. It’s when your blood glucose level or blood sugar level is higher than normal, but it’s not adequate to be considered diabetes.
If you fall under any of these categories, you might be at a risk of developing prediabetes:
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are habitually physically inactive
- Have elevated blood pressure
- Have previously been identified as having IFG (impaired fasting glucose) or IGT (impaired glucose tolerance)
- Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 4 kilograms
- Have a history of vascular disease
- Have an HDL cholesterol level (the “good” cholesterol) of 35 mg/dl or lower and/or triglyceride level of 250 mg/dl or higher
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
Prediabetes does not show any unusual symptoms. If you have classic diabetes symptoms like needing to visit the toilet too often, you might be suffering from prediabetes. Also, people with prediabetes can contract a skin disorder called acanthosis nigricans which shows up as dark, thick patches in areas of your body where there are skin folds or creases. Acanthosis nigricans often appears in the armpits, on the neck, inside the elbows, behind the knees and on the knuckles.
Changing your lifestyle
It goes without saying that lifestyle changes are needed to ward off prediabetes. You can reduce your risk of prediabetes by 58% through continued modest weight loss and improved moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes a day.
With prediabetes, it’s not so much about “what” you should eat, but “how much” you should eat. If you are obese, your primary and foremost goal should be to lose weight. This means working with a dietitian to determine the amount and kind of food you should eat at every meal. One of the main issues in losing weight is calculating portion size.
Your dietitian will also advise you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat you consume because each gram of fat has considerably more calories in it than a gram of protein or carbohydrate. This means:
- Cutting back on the amount of butter you use in cooking
- Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
- Eating more meatless meals, or making your meals so that your dinner plate has more fruit, vegetables, and starches on it, and less meat
- Eating fish and chicken more and only lean cuts of beef
Along with weight loss, your objective will be to start a program of physical activity, if you aren’t getting regular exercise at the present. Physical activity will help you use the insulin you produce to change the fare you consume into energy. This will help keep your blood glucose lower as required. If you have a small bite of halwa with a meal, follow it up with a quick walk.