You’ve probably heard of type 2 diabetes, but did you know it can be prevented? Unlike type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood and can’t be reversed, type 2 diabetes is often preventable. Prediabetes is a serious health problem where blood sugar levels are elevated close to the level of type 2 diabetes.
The CDC claims 80% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.
BASS Medical Group strives to provide quality patient education and treatment.
Read on to discover the symptoms of prediabetes, as well as diet and exercise recommendations for prevention.
Prediabetes Symptoms: What to Watch For
Besides feeling “off” or abnormal, there are tangible signs that you may have prediabetes.
Symptoms of prediabetes include:
- Excessive thirst and frequent urination - These symptoms seem to counteract each other because you are constantly in need of fluids.
- Itchy skin and parched mouth - This comes from frequent urination.
- Fatigue - Your body is working overtime to process what it can.
- High A1C levels - Discovered after a fasted blood test ordered by a doctor.
Additional Risk Factors
Here are some risk factors to be aware of:
- Being overweight - Individuals who are overweight are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The more body fat someone has, the harder the cells have to work to receive insulin from the pancreas.
- Age - People 45 years and older are at higher risk than their younger counterparts.
- Sedentary Lifestyle - If you exercise less than 3 times per week, you are considered sedentary and run the risk of developing prediabetes.
- Direct family with type 2 diabetes - Do your parents or siblings have type 2 diabetes?
- Gestational diabetes - Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a higher chance of remaining diabetic after giving birth. Most cases go away after birth, but if you are not careful, diabetes will remain.
- PCOS - Women with polycystic ovary syndrome tend to be insulin resistant.
- Race and Ethnicity - Research shows a higher probability of being prone to prediabetes in those who are African American, Latino or Hispanic, or members of the AAPI community.
Fortunately, prediabetes is highly preventable and can be reversed. One of the best ways to be proactive about fighting diabetes is to be mindful of the food you are putting into your body.
Prediabetes Diet - What Works?
The most important factor in reversing prediabetes is a change in diet. Experts at Johns Hopkins recommend a balanced diet based on the Mediterranean diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and seafood are healthy options. In addition, JHU suggests following a version of the MyPlate.gov guidelines modified for the American Diabetes Association.
Specifically, the American Diabetes Association recommends:
- 50% of your plate should be a non-starchy vegetable. Think broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower.
- 25% of the portion should be a protein like chicken, fish, or beef.
- The remaining 25% of the meal should have carbohydrates: beans, whole grains, and fruit.
- Pair water or another 0-calorie beverage with this meal to stay hydrated with net zero calories.
There are also foods that you should avoid if you are prediabetic. Namely, foods with high amounts of sugar, like soda, cookies, and other sweets. Processed foods are high in both sugar and saturated fats. Look for low-fat alternatives to your favorite foods.
Peace of Mind
Although the thought of being diagnosed with diabetes is stressful, keep in mind that type 2 diabetes is highly preventable.
If you think you or a loved one may be prediabetic, we are here to help. The endocrinology department at BASS Medical Group has a wealth of resources and experience diagnosing and treating type 2 diabetes. With over 200 locations in the Central Valley, North Bay, and San Francisco Bay Areas, we are here for all your health and wellness needs.