Back to articles

Prediabetes: Why it's a welcome wake-up call

Mind, Spirit, Body

It may seem as though there's no upside to learning you have prediabetes. But there is—and it's a big one.

You have time to turn things around. Prediabetes gives you a chance to get your blood sugar back on track and even prevent type 2 diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be called diabetes. Untreated, many people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

Most people with prediabetes—nine out of 10, in fact—aren't aware of their condition. It rarely produces symptoms. So if you know you have it, you're already ahead of the game.

Some very doable lifestyle changes can help you turn your health around and prevent complications such as heart disease and stroke down the road.

Preventing diabetes

Here are three steps you can take now. Together, they may help cut your risk of getting diabetes in half:

1. Lose weight. It doesn't have to be much. If you're overweight, losing as little as seven percent of your body weight can help you prevent diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, that's about 15 pounds.

2. Move more. Squeezing in 30 minutes of moderate exercise—such as a brisk walk—five days a week can help protect you from diabetes. Exercise helps your body use blood sugar more efficiently.

3. Eat right. To cut back on saturated fat and extra calories, aim for modest, manageable changes. For instance, you might switch from sugary sodas to water and go meatless for more meals. Small steps like these can add up to big results.

Find a diabetes educator

Adventist Health's certified diabetes educators can help you learn more about prediabetes—and how to make healthy changes in your life. Learn more about diabetes education in your community.