Be PROACTIVE if diagnosed with prediabetes

What do you know about prediabetes?  If you or a loved one is diagnosed with this, you want to be as educated as you can so as to prevent type 2 diabetes.  Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as full-blown type 2 diabetes.  It’s estimated 79 million Americans have prediabetes and it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated.  If it is not diagnosed it most likely will go on to develop into type 2 diabetes.  Currently, about half of all American adults have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas may not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin it does make.  Insulin is a hormone that is necessary to remove your glucose or blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells of the body.  If this doesn’t happen, your glucose levels become elevated leading to many health complications such as heart disease, stroke, vision problems and blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage (neuropathy), foot problems, skin complications and dental disease.          

There are often no symptoms of prediabetes but it you experience any of the following or other unusual symptoms, go see your doctor: 

·         Fatigue

·         Frequent urination

·         Blurred vision

·         Increased thirst

Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing prediabetes include:

·         Being overweight or obese or having a body mass index of 25 or higher

·         Age 45 and older

·         Physically inactive

·         Family history

·         High blood pressure

·         Being African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander

·         If you’re  a woman who has had gestational diabetes or has polycystic ovary syndrome

Below is a chart showing the diagnosis of either prediabetes or diabetes comparing it with people without diabetes:


If diagnosed with prediabetes, you need to take it seriously.  It is a wake-up call and a call to action – you’re on the path to developing type 2 diabetes but it’s not too late to reverse course.  Here is a PROACTIVE action plan to help you avoid this common disease:

P – Prevent heart disease – The risk of heart disease goes up dramatically with diabetes so it’s important to have a heart-healthy lifestyle.  Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco and know your family history of heart disease.

R – Regular sleep – If you’re not getting sufficient sleep each night (preferably 7 to 8 hours), you may not be using insulin effectively and it can make losing weight harder.  Develop good sleep habits like going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, avoid caffeine before bedtime, and turn off computers, cell phones and the TV. 

O – Overturn being overweight or obese – Most people diagnosed with prediabetes are either overweight or obese.  Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can have a significant impact on decreasing development of type 2 diabetes.

A – Activity – Move often or exercise.  Physical activity helps lower weight, blood glucose levels and decreases body fat.  If haven’t exercised for some time, check with your doctor first, and slowly add more activity into your daily routine.  Thirty minutes a day of walking is a good goal to aim for – also taking the stairs, walking the dog, parking further away from a store and standing more all add up to burning more calories.

C – Commit – Make a commitment to do your best each day to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Having a good attitude will help with this – don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip-up.  If you do, start fresh the next day committed to stopping prediabetes in its tracks.

T – Take medicine if needed – Once diagnosed with prediabetes, your doctor may want to start you on an oral medication that controls blood sugar levels.  Follow your doctors’ advice and ask questions if you don’t understand something. 

I – Identify support – Following all of this advice can be made easier if you have someone to be accountable to and who cheers you on.  Consider joining a support group or meet with a certified diabetes educator who can give you further ideas on preventing diabetes.

V – Vitals – Know your vitals such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C.  Knowledge is power and the more informed you are about your health, the more likely you’ll want to take good care of yourself.

E – Eat healthy – This can be one of the major keys to reversing prediabetes. Choose a balanced diet by:

·         Avoiding sweetened beverages

·         Limiting sweets – cakes, cookies, pie, etc

·         Reducing saturated and trans fat

·         Reducing calories

·         Following the guidelines at – make at least half your plate filled with fruits and vegetables, with the other half made up of whole grains and lean meats.

·         Limiting eating at fast food restaurants

·         Cooking more often from scratch at home

All good decisions begin with a single step in the right direction.  The more proactive steps you make a part of your lifestyle, the more likely you can at least delay if not reverse prediabetes.  Think proactive, be proactive and watch your life turn towards better health and away from diabetes.


Cheryl Mussatto has over 30 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and has worked in a variety of settings that cover a wide span of nutrition experience.  Currently she works as an adjunct professor for two community colleges, Allen Community College in Burlingame and Butler Community College in Council Grove, Kansas teaching two courses, Basic Nutrition and Therapeutic Nutrition. She is a consulting dietitian for the Cotton O’Neil Medical Clinic in Osage City doing individualized nutrition counseling. Cheryl also is a contributing author for, an online newspaper and Edietitians, a global free nutritional and health magazine. Her articles for both publications pertain to nutrition topics that cover a diversity of health and nutrition interests for the general public.  She is also certified as a health and wellness coach. Visit her website and Facebook page: Eat Well 2 Be Well