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How long does it take to reverse Prediabetes

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Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the USA. As a matter of fact, there are around 90 million people currently living with it. It is so infamous fact that we even have a name for its onset. We call it ‘Prediabetes.’

What is Prediabetes? How long does it take to reverse prediabetes? And is it possible without medications?

Let’s answer all these questions and others.

What is Prediabetes?

Let’s start with the basics. As stated before, Prediabetes itself is not a disease or an illness. It is just the phase in-between when a patient is not diabetic yet but is en route to get there.

As it happens, it is a condition in which the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

How Long Does it Take to Reverse Prediabetes?

There is no one answer to this question as the reversal of prediabetes depends on a number of factors including an individual’s existing medical condition, associated risk factors, their commitment to lifestyle changes, and how their body responds to those changes.

Most experts agree that the best window of time to reverse prediabetes is within 2-6 years of onset. If left unchecked for more than that, it usually evolves to full fledge diabetes.

But it is also true that many people do not take nearly as long to get the desired results and may observe better health outcomes in a matter of months. 

Who is at risk of Prediabetes?

There are a number of risk factors that increase an individual’s susceptibility to Diabetes Type 2.

Some people carry risk factors beyond their control such as:

  • People with a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Individuals who are 45 years of age or older
  • People belonging to African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander communities
  • Females with PCOS
  • Females who experienced Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy
  • People with Cushing’s Syndrome or Acromegaly
  • Individuals with Sleep Apnea
  • Patients on steroids or certain antipsychotic medications

Whereas there are some people who carry risk factors that can be managed by lifestyle changes and medications such as:

  • People with Obesity
  • People with poor diets full of saturated fats and added sugars
  • Sedentary lifestyle with no regular physical activity or exercise
  • Poorly controlled Blood Pressure or Cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • excess alcohol consumption

You can actually figure out your risk level by taking this test designed by the CDC. It helps everyone understand their illness better. This will in turn help them take control of their health outcomes.

So, the question to ask here is not whether prediabetes can be reversed or not, but how long does it take to reverse prediabetes. Also, how can we do it faster?

How to Reverse Prediabetes?

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is one of the biggest and most common contributing factors to the development of type 2 diabetes. It is observed that most people can see a significant decrease in their Prediabetes levels if they decrease body weight by about 7%. This can be achieved by lowering your overall calorie intake and being more physically active.

2. Exercise and be physically active

Regular exercise and physical activity decrease insulin tolerance in the body. 150 minutes of physical activity is recommended per week to observe a noticeable difference in Prediabetes levels.

3. Lower Carbs in your diet

Eating foods high in carbohydrates and sugars gives the body an instant sugar rush. This increases the body’s insurance tolerance over time. This is why the carbs intake should be as low as possible.

You should drink water instead of carbonated beverages or fizzy/sugary drinks.

4. Increase Protein and Vegetable intake

Proteins and vegetables will make you feel full and satiated and thus help you stay off carbs and also lose weight.

5. Seeing a dietitian

You can also see a licensed dietitian to help you come up with a meal plan that meets your needs the best.

6. Reduce Smoking and alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking are contributors to a wide variety of chronic diseases. This is why it is no surprise that diabetes also gets worse with these habits.

7. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule

Lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns can exacerbate prediabetes into diabetes.

You should try to sleep at fixed times and try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night.

8. Monitor your Blood Sugar Levels Regularly

The best way to fight Prediabetes is to be knowledgeable about your own health goals and track your progress along the way. 

You should check your blood sugar levels as regularly as possible. And also follow your doctor’s recommendations on the frequency of the HA1c test.

You can also check out our guide on how to use glucometer at home.

9. Reduce Stress Levels

While there is no direct link between stress and diabetes, some research has shown that increased stress may lead to lower production of insulin in the body.

While stress may not be the biggest risk factor, it is still a good idea to avoid it in general.

10. Medication Options, Metformin

While it is possible to reverse Prediabetes through lifestyle changes alone, some doctors may prescribe low doses of Metformin along with them as well. This is because it is quite effective and has been the main first-line medication against diabetes for years now.

borderline diabetic symptoms

Conclusion

Hopefully, after reading this you better understand Prediabetes and how you can reverse it. But always remember, while we can give you a general answer for how long does it take to reverse prediabetes, only your Primary Care Provider can give you the answer that keeps your personal medical history in mind.

So, be sure to visit your PCP at least once a year for your annual labs, physicals, and wellness visits. And if you are in the New Jersey Area and looking for a PCP, feel to reach out to AZZ Medical Associates at (609)-890-1050 for an appointment today!

FAQs about How long does it take to Reverse Prediabetes

Can Prediabetes be cured?

Prediabetes is reversible through lifestyle changes and weight management.

How do I know if I have Prediabetes?

Prediabetes, much like regular diabetes, is diagnosed through blood tests. There are two tests most commonly used to detect and diagnose diabetes and prediabetes:

  • Blood Glucose test

This is a simple test that detects the concentration of glucose in the blood in the units of mg/dL. The following criteria are used to interpret a blood glucose test when a sample is taken in fasting (10-12 hours after a meal) :

  • Normal: 70- 100 mg/dL
  • Prediabetes: 100-125 mg/dL
  • Diabetes: Higher than 125 mg/dL
  • The A1c test

The A1c test, also known as the HbA1c test, tells us about an individual’s average sugar values over the past 2-3 months, and is considered the gold standard when diagnosing diabetes or prediabetes.

The reference values for interpretation of A1c are:

  • Normal: less than 5.4
  • Prediabetes: 5.7% – 6.4%
  • Diabetes: higher than 6.4%

What are the warning signs of Prediabetes?

Most people with prediabetes do not develop any symptoms at all since their blood glucose is still only marginally high. In fact, more than 80% of the individuals living with Prediabetes in the USA do not have any specific signs of prediabetes and so have no idea that they may be at risk of diabetes. This means that there are no specific ‘prediabetes signs.’

If symptoms do appear then they are mostly the same as that of diabetes i.e. increased thirst, increase urination, fatigue, blurry vision, numbness of feet, etc. Some people also present with an observable black discoloration in the folds of skin, particularly in the neck, or armpits. This is Acanthosis nigricans, also known as Diabetes Neck or Prediabetes Neck.

Is Prediabetes Reversible?

Now, the good news here is that Prediabetes is reversible and there is also adequate research to show that a lot of people are able to reverse their prediabetes and delay the onset of diabetes by years.

This not only means a delay in the symptoms associated with diabetes such as:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent hunger pangs
  • Blurry Vision
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling in feet
  • Slower Healing

But it also means you can postpone complications that come with diabetes such as:

  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Nerve Damage
  • Eye Damage
  • Foot Damage
  • Skin and Mouth Conditions

What foods should I avoid with Prediabetes?

Foods rich in sugar such as sweets, ice cream, cakes, candy, chocolates, etc, processed carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, bagels, sweetened breakfast cereals, etc.

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