More than one-third of adults in the United States have prediabetes, according to the latest statistics. The biggest challenge to helping them is that the majority don’t know they have it. In fact, only 10 percent of people with prediabetes are aware of their condition.
If prediabetes isn’t reversed, it can lead to type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the country. People who have diabetes also face higher risks of serious health complications such as: premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation.
If you don’t know whether you have prediabetes, you can ask your primary health provider for a simple blood test. You can also take a short online test to learn your risk.
Here’s the good news. You can fight prediabetes with four proven strategies:
- Quit smoking – Smoking not only causes lung cancer, it also increases your risk for complications if you have diabetes. If you need help quitting, check out these tips at smokefree.gov. Remember, millions of people have quit smoking. Sometimes, it takes several attempts to be successful. Don’t give up the fight.
- Manage your weight – Losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can reverse prediabetes. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 10 to 15 pounds could make all the difference. Managing your weight requires making permanent lifestyle changes.
- Eat healthy foods – It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, if you’re fueling your body with junk food. Avoid food that comes in boxes. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Eat perishable foods that come from trees and plants. Avoid processed food products even if they claim to contain vegetables or fruits.
- Exercise – Aim for 2.5 hours of aerobic activity every week. If you need to break it up into 30-minute walks, try that for five days a week. All exercise counts. Take the dog for a walk. Walk around the mall. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.