Prediabetes sounds like something that only affects your grandparents, right?
Well, not necessarily. Millions of Americans are at risk for prediabetes and don’t even know it. And one-third of adults already have it. Changing your lifestyle now will help you avoid becoming part of that statistic.
“Many health conditions can improve or even be reversed through healthy lifestyle changes. If you make the investment now, it will preserve your health as you age and allow you to continue doing the things you love to do,” says Traci Heiner, supervisor of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Intermountain Healthcare’s Utah Valley Hospital.
Exercise regularly. Being active is essential to creating a healthier lifestyle, but that can be intimidating if your activity level has been low. Luckily, there’s a variety of beginner exercises you can do to increase your heart rate, jump-start your metabolism, and kick your prediabetic lifestyle goodbye.
Three times a week, try to do something you enjoy that also gets your heart rate up, like one of these activities:
- Go for a walk with someone you love or take your pet for a stroll.
- Participate in an exercise class with friends.
- Depending on the time of year, you can explore the mountains by hiking or snowshoeing.
- If you like to run, switch off between running and walking, so you don’t burn yourself out.
Prioritize nutrition. Eat regularly throughout the day and follow a balanced diet. Foods with carbohydrates will increase your blood sugar, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid them. Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet—they’re what give you energy. If you have diabetes, you’ll want to balance your carbohydrates with protein and non-starchy vegetables. Watch your portion sizes of these foods, and reduce the simple sugars in your diet.
Know your numbers! Your hemoglobin A1C describes your blood sugar numbers over a long period, and daily blood sugar counts show how your body reacts to food, medication, and other factors. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, your healthcare provider has likely recommended that you test your blood sugar on a regular basis. Additionally, you should know the signs of high blood sugar: extreme thirst, dry and itchy skin, frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme hunger, and fatigue. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider and test your blood sugar.
Are you at risk? Take Intermountain Healthcare’s free, interactive quiz to see if you're likely to get prediabetes and learn what you can do about it.
Find out more by tuning in to Intermountain Healthcare experts on Tuesday, June 12th as they discuss diabetes, prevention, and management on KUTV and Intermountain Healthcare’s Ask the Expert.
If you have questions, our panel of experts will be answering your phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #kutvasktheexpert.