Prediabetes is a condition that indicates there are elevated blood sugar levels, but that the elevation isn’t high enough to render a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It is more of a precursor to developing full-blown type 2 diabetes. A wake-up call, if you will.
In this phase, the pancreas can still produce enough insulin, but it is less efficient at removing sugar from the bloodstream. This causes insulin resistance, which is one of the first events that occur in the development of type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of prediabetes?
Prediabetes is often considered a “silent” condition, as it generally has no signs or symptoms. If there are signs, they are usually faint, and people who are suffering from these easily overlooked traits may assume they are just due to their daily routine.
- Darkened skin on certain areas of the body (armpits, neck, knuckles and/or groin)
- Shiny, scaly patches on skin
- Tight or waxy skin
- Irregular periods
- Hair loss
- Frequent urination
- Extreme fatigue (feeling a bit draggy)
- Increased thirst
As with other chronic degenerative illnesses, there are some risk factors that may leave you further predisposed to developing the condition. Risk factors such as obesity, being inactive, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or genetics (a close family member with type 2 diabetes).
If you have any of the following symptoms, you might want to consider scheduling your regular wellness check-up to discuss any concerns you may have with your primary care physician.
Does being prediabetic mean that you will inevitably develop diabetes? Not necessarily; it is, however, a huge warning sign that is shouting, “Turn back before you hit the point of no return!” It’s up to you to make better choices to get redirected to a healthier path.
So what can you do to reverse it?
You have to make healthier lifestyle choices. Without such, it’s more likely for the condition to progress to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The same principles apply to other chronic illnesses when working to improve your health.
Here are some changes you can make to reduce your risk or reverse your prediabetic condition:
1. Adopt healthier eating habits
Eating a balanced diet of fiber-rich carbohydrates, non-starchy organic veggies or fruits, and lean protein will help balance your blood sugar. It will also provide the essential nutrients that are necessary for keeping you energized and satiated throughout the day. See also: Medicinal Herbs and Superfoods for Diabetes.
2. Get active
Go for a walk and just get your body moving. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous sweat session all the time. A pleasant stroll outside to soak up the vitamin D, breathe in the fresh air, and de-stress can do wonders for your health. Make physical activity a priority in your daily routine.
3. Lose weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of becoming prediabetic as a precursor to type 2 diabetes. That is why it is so important to maintain a healthy weight. By implementing healthier eating habits and engaging in physical activity, you are sure to make a positive impact on your weight.
If you’re looking to lower your risk of developing diabetes, it might be a good idea to add the known anti-diabetic mineral, chromium, to your daily health maintenance regimen. Chromium is an essential factor in the body’s ability to generate the glucose tolerance factor—an important piece of the insulin efficiency puzzle.
Taking a high-quality natural supplement or eating foods like broccoli, barley, and oats that are rich in chromium will help keep your blood sugar levels in check—thus, preventing prediabetes.
In clinical studies, ginseng has been shown to lower both postprandial (post-meal) and fasting glucose levels as well as overall levels of A1C. Most practitioners aren’t opposed to supplementation with this natural remedy. The use of ginseng as a preventative tool for warding off a potential diabetes diagnosis may provide some level of protection against what would ordinarily be an inevitable diagnosis.
Magnesium’s relationship with diabetes has been studied intensely for years, although the consensus is still out on whether or not supplementation of the mineral is sufficient as a method of treatment for diabetes.
What we do know is that in people with low magnesium, the body’s ability to secrete insulin is compromised, making the body’s ability to naturally regulate blood sugars more difficult. In people who are already diabetic, a correlation between magnesium deficiency and an increased potential to develop diabetic complications has been observed.
Most diets are lacking in this vital mineral, so it’s especially important for people who are at risk for developing diabetes to ensure that they’re getting their recommended daily intake. The best way to that is by eating magnesium-rich foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and avocados.
*Note: It’s possible for blood tests to show normal levels of magnesium and a deficiency if it does exist. The body works hard to remain a balance of magnesium in the blood to avoid organ failure and disequilibrium of electrolytes. However, the majority of the body’s magnesium stores reside within the bones—making it virtually impossible to determine with much certainty if the body is truly getting the magnesium it needs.
When should you implement these changes?
Today. Right now. The best way to make changes in life is to start doing them immediately, if possible. Dispose of junk food and get outside. Go for a walk or enjoy life as you dance around the room.
Prediabetes doesn’t mean you are destined to develop type 2 diabetes. As you have learned, there are actions you can take to improve your conditions and reverse your symptoms.
Guest Post: Dr. Jason Crockett, D.C. is the Senior Director at Zeal Integrated Health. He is a licensed chiropractor serving the Springfield, Missouri community since 2001.